Despite working with a cross-functional and dedicated team, nanoparticle irreproducibility was an ongoing problem for us, just as it is for many others engaged in existing research. Many commercially available particles we worked with initially were insufficiently characterized and exhibited inconsistent properties. As a result, research on novel formulations is very difficult, and this is an essential reason why specifically-targeted nanoparticle therapies have yet to become a reality. While nanoparticle-based therapeutics exist, they only serve to alter the solubility, toxicity, or pharmacodynamics of a drug. None of the therapies on the market today live up to the ultimate promise of nanoparticles, which involves specific molecular targeting of a therapeutic payload.
Such a platform would allow us to not only identify promising therapeutic candidates, but also generate a considerable amount of data on novel nanoparticle formulations that will help us better understand their behavior and improve future design. This required us to go back to first principles. Our approach is supported by on-site capabilities that include lab automation expertise, chemical engineering, microfluidics and chip design, DNA sequencing, and computational biology.