Cerulean’s First NanoBiology Platform: The Nanocell

An example of Cerulean’s NanoBiology focus is its first technological application, the Nanocell. Licensed exclusively from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cerulean uses its proprietary Nanocell technology to develop multi-compartmental nanoparticle-based therapeutics in which two or more drugs with varied release times are packaged within the Nanocell, allowing for sequential delivery of the drugs, optimizing the location, time and combinatorial effect of two therapies while minimizing toxicities.

The potential of the Nanocell technology was highlighted by preclinical data published in the journal Nature in July 2005. In the study, researchers designed a Nanocell that preferentially distributed to a cancerous tumor; the Nanocell then released a vascular targeting drug, leading to the collapse of the vascular network and trapping the nanoparticle within the tumor, followed by the subsequent release of a potent anti-tumor drug.

The study results were compelling, demonstrating:

  • Through concentrating and trapping the two drugs in the tumor, the Nanocell dramatically inhibited tumor growth in mice and extended survival time compared to other drugs and drug combinations.
  • Greater efficacy was observed when both drugs were delivered within the Nanocell compared to the individual drugs administered in combination, illustrating the advantage of using the Nanocell to deliver combinations of drugs.
  • In addition, data on white blood cell counts showed that the Nanocell format also provides a safety advantage compared to positive controls.
  • Finally, data in the Nature paper demonstrated that the unique format of the Nanocell has the potential to overcome resistance mechanisms of cancer.

Based on these exciting and compelling data which demonstrate the potential to achieve unprecedented efficacy and safety, Cerulean is working rapidly to complete additional preclinical studies with its own Nanocell oncology candidate and plans to enter human clinical trials in the near term.