NanoHybrids, Inc., an Austin-based, emerging biotech company developing nanotechnology-based clinical and pre-clinical solutions, was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract grant to develop a targeted biocompatible imaging contrast agent that will help detect high risk atherosclerotic plaques.
Rupture of atherosclerotic plaques account for around 70% of fatal acute myocardial infarctions and/or sudden coronary deaths. Plaques that are vulnerable to rupture have certain specific features, which can be detected by various intravascular imaging techniques. However, currently available techniques are limited in their ability to target and image macrophage activity, a crucial component of atherosclerotic plaque characterization. NanoHybrids is developing a contrast agent for intravascular imaging for IVUS/IVPA (Intravascular Ultrasound/Intravascular Photoacoustic) systems to target macrophages in vulnerable plaques, thus facilitating better and more cost-effective clinical decision making in the treatment of atherosclerosis.
IVUS imaging is gaining rapid traction in the clinical market due to its safety, efficacy and portability. IVPA imaging, a complementary add-on to IVUS imaging, combined with molecular contrast agents can provide physicians valuable diagnostic data without the need for any additional procedures.
“The NanoHybrids team is excited about the grant since it represents a step forward in our journey towards the clinic. Our targeted solution has the potential to generate significant clinical impact since identifying vulnerable plaques prior to disruption will enable appropriate therapies which, in turn can reduce the rate of heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Justin Harris, the principal investigator for this grant at NanoHybrids.
The Phase I SBIR grant was awarded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an organization under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which funds research on diseases of the heart, lung and blood, enabling the translation of basic discoveries into clinical practice.
NanoHybrids is an Austin-based company focused on commercializing nanotechnology solutions that can enhance the non-invasive detection and molecular profiling of cancer, atherosclerosis and other diseases. The company’s current product line comprises of premium gold nanoparticles with specialized coatings, including a proprietary silica coating that provides colloidal stability, bioconjugation potential and enhanced optical properties. The nanoparticles are ideal for use in imaging, tumor targeting, microscopy, lateral flow assays, SERS, drug delivery research, sensors and several other high-technology applications within the fields of life science and materials science.
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