UCalgary researcher signs deal to develop nanomedicines for treatment of Type 1 diabetes – UCalgary News

When Dr. Pere Santamaria arrived in Calgary in 1992 to join the Cumming School of Medicine, he never could have imagined he would make a groundbreaking discovery that would lead to a spinoff company. When I arrived, I found out that the grant money I was expecting hadnt come through, says Santamaria, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. So I had an empty lab with no research assistants and no salary. I had to beg my supervisor to give me $10,000 to start my research.

Despite the rocky start, Santamaria has achieved something many scientists dream of making a discovery that has practical applications for health care. Santamarias discovery revolves around the use of nanoparticles coated in proteins to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.

They can be modified for different diseases, such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis without compromising the entire immune system, Santamaria explains. Instead, they basically work to reset the immune system.

Nanomedicines unique mechanism has the potential to disrupt the pharmaceutical industry entirely. Developing a new class of drugs is rare. With the assistance of Innovate Calgary, Santamaria started a company, Parvus Therapeutics Inc., to represent the technology and explore ways of bringing it to market. Announced in April 2017, Parvus entered into an exclusive deal with the Swiss pharma giant Novartis, hopefully leading to the development and commercialization of Parvuss nanomedicine to treat Type 1 diabetes.

Its a good partnership, Santamaria says. Bringing a drug to market requires science as well as money.

Supporting commercialization should be a top priority for all research, he continues. Our biggest responsibility is to the patients and making sure they have access to the medicine they need. With that in mind, Santamaria shares his insight for other researchers who may be interested in bringing their discoveries from the lab bench to the market.

If youre interested in investigating spin-out opportunities, get in touch with Innovate Calgary, which offers mentors, coaching, business skill development programs, intellectual property services and other back-office support.

Throughout the years, Santamarias work has been funded by numerous organizations, including Diabetes Canada, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Diabetes Association, Foothills.He is a member of the Snyder Institute and associate member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.Santamaria named his company Parvus from the Greek word meaning small.

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UCalgary researcher signs deal to develop nanomedicines for treatment of Type 1 diabetes - UCalgary News

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