When developing cancer treatments, a primary challenge is ensuring that the right therapeutic agents get to the tumors they are intended to treat while creating as little harm or toxicity to the surrounding tissue as possible. It is that challenge that BIND Biosciences is hoping to solve with the formation of their Medicinal Nanoengineering platform.
BIND, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 2007 by two researchers with experience in the field of targeted nanoparticles, Robert Langer, ScD, and Omid Farokhzad, MD. The company formed the Medicinal Nanoengineering platform in 2007 to develop therapies that target cells and tissues. Their lead program, BIND-014, is a targeted polymeric nanoparticle containing the cytotoxic agent docetaxel, the active ingredient found in Taxotere.
Scott Minick, president and CEO of BIND, said that he believes targeted therapeutics like BIND-014 have enormous potential in terms of their ability to treat patients better than existing therapies because of their ability to deliver more medicine to a tumor site without exposing surrounding tissue to the toxicity. BIND is using PEG-coated liposomes, which creates a “stealth” effect that allows BIND-014 to remain in the body longer and deliver medicine over a longer period of time.
“In a dose of Taxotere, the drug is being delivered not just to the tumor but all throughout the body,” said Minick. “The goal of developing a drug like BIND-014 is to deliver much more of the drug to the tumor site and reduce the amount of toxicity that can damage other tissues in the body.”
Preclinical testing of BIND-014 began in 2009. The agent is designed to target prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a membrane glycoprotein found in prostate tissues and other cancerous tissues. In preclinical trials, BIND-014 was shown to deliver approximately 20 times more docetaxel to tumors than a similar dose of Taxotere. If approved, the drug would be given intravenously.
Minick said the drug is being tested at 3 sites: The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; and Marin Cancer Care in Greenbrae, California. The phase I study has had “no problem” reaching its initial accrual goal of 30 patients, according to Minick.