Content of the article continued
“(Molecules) break down very quickly in the body, and an even bigger problem is that they can’t get into cells on their own, where they need to be to function,” he explained. .
While Acuitas had a head start in creating lipid nanoparticle vehicles for drugs, they had to condense work that typically takes years into a few months after the outbreak of the pandemic earlier this year.
“In 2010, I read an article about the use of messenger RNA as a biologic drug and realized that the delivery technology we were working on would be ideal for this application,” recalls Madden.
He heard the opportunity strike.
“Messenger RNA is thousands of times more fragile than the drugs we were working on at the time, so it really couldn’t work without a delivery system,” he said.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that the vaccine developed with Acuitas is 90% effective against COVID-19 in human trials. The first trials of CureVac showed an increase in neutralizing antibodies against COVID in test subjects.
Acuitas, with 25 employees, created hundreds of lipid structures and tested them for their ability to protect therapeutic molecules on their journey to human cells.
They liken the process to a delivery system that wraps around a fragile ornament, protects it on a bumpy journey, then finds your home, opens the front door, and unpacks the package.
Madden also led the development of a lipid nanoparticle carrier for the biologic Onpattro with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, which was approved in Europe and the United States in 2018.