Skokie, IL, United States

AuraSense Therapeutics LLC

www.aurasense.com
Skokie, IL, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.65K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites of molds and fungi, many of which are pathogenic to humans. In general, mycotoxins enter the body through the skin, digestive tract, or through respiration. Exposure to a few milligrams can be lethal. Mycotoxins have a high likelihood of being weaponized, due to their ease of large scale production. One possible way to counteract the effect of mycotoxins is to neutralize them by sequestration in lipophilic membranes, apart from cell membranes. Using cholesterol as a safe and relevant model system for sequestering membrane incorporated lipophilic toxins, AuraSense proposes to use lipid and protein-modified gold nanoparticles to develop constructs for the sequestration of toxic lipophilic molecules. In Phase I, AuraSense demonstrated that the mycotoxin binding nanoparticles synthesized were able to sequester the toxin analogue in buffered saline solutions and in in vitro cell culture assays. In Phase II, AuraSense will extend these experiments in to in vivo systems and examine the ability of the nanoparticles to sequester and excrete these toxins. BENEFIT: The key technological objective in this proposal is to demonstrate that a mycotoxin binding platform is a useful therapy for combating the toxic effects of exposure. AuraSense's mycotoxin binding nanoparticles (MB NP) constructs address a key unmet need: the lack of effective agents for transporting lipophilic toxins, such as mycotoxins, safely out of the body. In response to this unmet need, the Company's objective is a medical countermeasure based upon the MB NP platform and tailored for use against major classes of lipophilic toxins in a field setting. Such a product, if properly configured, could prove essential in responding to a particularly dangerous, and plausible, terrorist or foreign military attack.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

ABSTRACT: Mycotoxins are a class of weaponizable toxic secondary metabolites of molds and fungi. No treatments exist for exposure to these lipophilic poisons. AuraSense proposes to use lipid and protein modified gold nanoparticles to develop constructs for the sequestration of toxic lipophilic molecules. Nanoparticles are ideal materials for development of such a system, as they are able to be finely tuned in terms of their size, molecular composition, surface charge, and interfacial properties. In addition, we have demonstrated in preliminary work that they are nontoxic, and have a proven ability to avidly bind lipophilic molecules. Due to the difficulty of working with mycotoxins, cholesterol will be used as a model system to demonstrate sequestration from cell membranes. BENEFIT: AuraSense"s nanoparticle constructs have great potential as effective agents for transporting lipophilic toxins, such as mycotoxins, safely out of the body. AuraSense nanoparticle technology has been developed in numerous proof-of-concept applications and has been the subject of consistent commercial interest to date. This platform stands to significantly advance defense alternatives in combating lipophilic toxins. While broadly applicable in a number of therapeutic areas, AuraSense"s nanoparticle platforms are highly relevant to the Biodefense market.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.94K | Year: 2014

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): AuraSense Therapeutics (AST), along with Northwestern University, is applying a recently developed technology using oligonucleotide-functionalized nanoparticles (called spherical nucleic acids or SNAs) to control protein expression. These easily synthesized nanoparticles can have either DNA or RNA shells, and are less than 50 nm in hydrodynamic diameter. SNA constructs are a powerful new way of regulating gene expression. Significance Conventional drug development is anincreasingly expensive proposition. In recent years, pharmaceutical manufacturers have pursued gene regulation's potential with aggressive efforts to generate therapeutic leads for cancer. Identification of target genes has proceeded quickly, but the pharmaceutical industry as a whole faces major challenges involving the safe and effective use of oligonucleotide-based gene regulation technology. The major barriers include nucleic acid stability, immune-related toxicity, and delivery challenges. Oligonu


Patent
Northwestern University and AuraSense Therapeutics LLC | Date: 2014-12-03

Liposomes termed as small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs), can be synthesized in the 20-50 nm size range, but encounter challenges such as instability and aggregation leading to inter-particle fusion. This limits their use as a therapeutic delivery agent. Increasing the surface negative charge of SUVs, via the attachment of anionic entities such as DNA/RNA, increases the colloidal stability of these vesicles. Additionally, the dense spherical arrangement and radial orientation of nucleic acids exhibits unique chemical and biological properties, unlike their linear counterparts. These liposomal particles, are non-toxic and though anionic, can efficiently enter cells without the aid of ancillary cationic transfection agents in a non-immunogenic fashion. These exceptional properties allow their use as delivery agents for gene regulation in different therapies and offer an alternative platform to metal core spherical nucleic acids.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.29K | Year: 2012

AuraSense Therapeutics is developing oligonucleotide-modified gold nanoparticles called spherical nucleic acid (SNA) constructs, which are a powerful new way of regulating cellular gene expression. AuraSense Therapeutics will use SNAs as genetically programmable antimicrobial agents in a manner to provide a rapid and effective way to develop next generation antibiotics. The outcome of this work will be a new approach to generating bactericides- a rapidly adaptable genetically programmable nanoparticle therapeutic (RANT). The strategy is designed to be capable of being rapidly re-programmed to counter microbial threats, both natural and engineered. Importantly, our system can be adapted to kill emerging and mutating microbial threats, on-the-fly, by simply changing the oligonucleotide sequence conjugated to the Au NP surface. Because the constructs only change in genetic targeting sequence, it is a way in which to develop new agents without altering major toxicity and biodistribution profiles. As a result, an argument can be made for compassionate use of a new sequence via an abbreviated pharmaceutical development cycle.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 224.94K | Year: 2014

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): AuraSense Therapeutics (AST), along with Northwestern University, is applying a recently developed technology using oligonucleotide-functionalized nanoparticles (called spherical nucleic acids or SNAs) to control protein expression. These easily synthesized nanoparticles can have either DNA or RNA shells, and are less than 50 nm in hydrodynamic diameter. SNA constructs are a powerful new way of regulating gene expression. These constructs consist of a dense spherical array of highly oriented oligonucleotides, templated on a nanoparticle, and are remarkable in their ability to readily enter cells, resistance to nuclease degradation, low toxicity and minimal immunostimulation. Critically, SNAs are also capable of penetrating biological barriers such as the stratum corneum and blood brain barrier, increasing the number of organs that can be treated using gene regulation. AST and Northwestern will design SNAs against the KRT10 R156H (hotspot) mutation for the treatment of


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 986.62K | Year: 2013

AuraSense Therapeutics is developing oligonucleotide-modified gold nanoparticles called Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) constructs, which are a powerful new way of regulating cellular gene expression. AuraSense Therapeutics will use SNAs as genetically programmable antimicrobial agents in a manner to provide a rapid and effective way to develop next-generation antibacterial agents. The outcome of this work will be a new approach to generating bactericides: a genetically programmable rapidly adaptable nanoparticle therapeutic (RANT). The strategy is designed to be rapidly re-programmed to counter microbial threats, both natural and engineered.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

ABSTRACT: Polyvalent nanoparticle constructs have unique properties that make them ideal for gene regulation applications, while overcoming many of the challenges which have prevented oligonucleotides from being developed into viable therapies. Specifically, AuraSense is developing constructs which are highly resistant to nuclease digestion, have high binding constants for intracellular targets, and, uniquely, have exhibited high entry into every cell type tested to date (over 50 cell types including primary cells, tissues and neurons). The AuraSense constructs thus represent a significant advance in gene pathway regulation technology while displaying the characteristics of an ideal gene therapy system. Building on our initial success, we are proposing to develop optimal constructs for application in the control of gene and protein expression. Objective 1 experiments will be designed to demonstrate and optimize: 1) Ability to deliver conjugate nanostructures into both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, 2) Ability to deliver oligonucleotides including siRNA, DNA and modified nucleic acid structures, and 3) Qualitative and quantitative assessment of cellular entry. Objective 2 will determine the 1) Functional gene regulatory effect in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, 2) Biological compatibility and toxicity, and 3) Comparison with commercially available lipid and polymer systems (e.g. Lipofectin and Cytofectin). BENEFIT: AuraSense"s nanoparticle constructs have great potential as broadly effective, non-toxic agents for cellular transfection of genetic material. AuraSense nanoparticle technology has been developed in numerous proof-of-concept applications and has been the subject of consistent commercial interest to date. This platform stands to significantly advance transfection as a tool for life science researchers and for increasing the safety of troops in the field. AuraSense"s nanoparticle platforms are highly relevant to two markets: Chemical Transfection (as used for research applications) and Biodefense.


Patent
AuraSense Therapeutics LLC | Date: 2012-09-11

Aspects of the invention relate to novel methods and compositions for assessing the level of cellular uptake of a nanoparticle construct, assessing the level of target binding of a nanoparticle construct and assessing the levels of RNAs and proteins in a given cell.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 728.58K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: AuraSense is developing and commercializing NanoFlare technology as an enabling tool for detecting RNA levels in cells. Current methods for sensing of viral exposure require great amounts of virus particles to be present in blood, or extensive processing of blood to isolate virus-specific genomic markers. We will develop NanoFlare sensors that can penetrate through skin, enter the bloodstream and detect viral targets. Once inside blood cells, the sensors will signal the presence of virus-specific genomic markers. This signal can be detected by fluorescence spectroscopy. The flexibility of the NanoFlare platform will facilitate the tailoring of the NanoFlare to meet current and emerging threats. BENEFIT: AuraSense will demonstrate an approach for detection of viral RNA in living cells. This will be accomplished using non-invasive systemic delivery through the skin. NanoFlare technology could thus be adapted for field deployment, for example by creating a patch to systemically deliver NanoFlares. We envision that a NanoFlare patch could be used by the warfighter to determine viral infection by taking a finger prick blood sample, with a rapid readout using a simple fluorescence detector such as a UV light source. In the commercial space, such a point-of-care fluorescence detection can be used by doctors in the clinic for rapid PCR-free diagnostic assays.

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