Donation for new Center for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology

December 18, 2008

Prof. Moein Moghimi (Professor of Biopharmacy and Nanomedicine, Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical chemistry) and colleagues have received 28 million DKK (approximately 3.75 million Euros) from the Danish Council for Strategic Research (DSF) to set The Centre for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology (CPNN) at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences starting April 2009.

Prof. Moghimi will act as the Director of the Centre and Prof. Thomas Bjørnholm (Head of the NanoScience Centre) will be the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

The development of a wide spectrum of promising nanoscale materials, either in their own right or as a component of multifunctional platforms, is beginning to have a paradigm-shifting impact in medicine; they are changing the foundations of disease diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, and turning molecular discoveries into benefits for patients. Research into delivery and targeting of pharmaceutical, therapeutic, and diagnostic agents via intravenous and interstitial routes of administration with particulate drug carriers and nanoconstructs is at the forefront of projects in nanomedicine, but the biological performance of such delivery systems still requires optimization.

The principal investigator Prof. Moghimi said "the future of particulate and polymeric nanomedicines will depend on rational design of nanotechnology materials and tools based around a detailed and thorough molecular understanding of biological processes, rather than forcing applications for some materials currently in vogue". Therefore, the prime research focus of the Centre is to unravel the molecular basis of nanomaterial performance and toxicity through "structure-activity" assessments at membrane organelle, cellular and animal level in combination with and by improving/optimizing the performance of the state-of-the-art bio-nanotechnology techniques. This integrated and multidisciplinary approach is expected to improve therapeutic benefit-to-risk ratio.

CPNN also intend to provide "bench-mark protocols" for toxicity evaluation of nanomedicines in animals, and at cellular and molecular levels, as the sensitivity and precision of the standard toxicological procedures are of arguable value in nanomedicine research and development as it is limited to spotting extreme toxicity.

CPNN also receives substantial in-kind contribution (at present in the region of 10 million DKK) from pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. The Centre has a critical mass of academic and industrial expertise and necessary tools to conduct the task, thus reinforcing competitiveness at international level. Partners include NanoScience Centre at the University of Copenhagen (Prof. Bjørnholm and Associate Prof. D. Stamou), Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Copenhagen (Prof. S. Loft), DTU-Nanotech (Senior Scientist T. Andresen), Lundbeck A/S, LiPlasome A/S and Nordic Vaccine A/S. The international dimension of CPNN is further reflected through collaborations with centres of excellence world-wide including USA, Switzerland, EU as well as the growth countries China and Hungary.

Prof. Moghimi also said "our success would help the transformation of National and European biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries towards a knowledge-intensive, globally competitive one. In addition, the safe use of nanoparticulate delivery systems will also give Denmark and EU significant savings in pharmaceutical spending, which continue to grow".

Training of at least 9 PhD students and 5-6 post doctoral scientists are envisaged at the highest level gaining maximum benefit through close collaboration with industrial partners and international network as well as by the training offered through the Graduate Schools of Drug Discovery (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Nanotechnology (Nano-Science Center).

University of Copenhagen

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