Coralville, IA—February 24, 2021—NanoMedTrix, LLC (NMTx), a Corridor biotech spin-off from biomedical engineering research and medicine at the University of Iowa, was awarded a $2 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to continue groundbreaking treatment of cancer. These funds will shore up the foundation of the technology and provide assets for the enterprise.

The company is based at BioVentures Center of the University of Iowa, in Coralville. Its main focus is to develop nanotechnology-based treatment of various forms of cancer (i.e. bladder, intestinal). As a platform technology, NMTx nanoparticles are engineered to enhance simultaneous drug delivery and medical imagery. The funded project will address bladder cancer, which is the fifth most common form of cancer (80,000 new cases and 17,000 deaths per year). Many life-saving drugs have slow absorption in the body, resulting in diminished efficacy. Repackaging the drugs as nanoparticles improves the drugs’ stability and even allows for targeted delivery. In this pandemic era, distance monitoring can improve health care safety and costs. This technology allows for remote cancer treatment monitoring through rapid contrast ultrasound imaging combined with detailed MRI scans.

The National Cancer Institute award exemplifies the innovative and synergistic efforts of two research institutions in the state: University of Iowa for medical applications and Iowa state University for pre-clinical trials and veterinary applications. NMTx has fostered clinical and scientific interactions with the world-renowned Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Pharmaceutics, and Biocatalysis.

This grant follows previous capital from NSF, NIH and private foundations totaling over $1 million with pending additional investments. NMTx is further seeking $3 million in private matching funds with which to complete pre-clinical testing and satisfy FDA regulatory requirements prior to clinical trials. A second tranche of fund-raising is anticipated prior to the next phase of-clinical trials. Funds will also be applied to evaluate the technology as a platform for other forms of cancer (prostate, colorectal) and chronic inflammatory diseases. The market is forecast to grow rapidly (CAGR 22.9%) due to the aging population and the increased costs of the next generation of targeted/personalized anti-cancer therapeutics. The market for bladder cancer therapeutics alone is projected to be $8.26 billion in 2028.

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