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Patent Awarded for Nanoparticle Drug, Cannabis Delivery

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

U.S. Patent and trademark Office (A. Kotok)

27 March 2018. A delivery technology for therapeutic compounds in nanoscale natural oil particles received a U.S. patent, which the company owning the technology says can be applied to drugs, nutritional supplements, and cannabis-based treatments. Patent number 9,925,149 was awarded today to Richard Clark Kaufman, chief scientist at Nanosphere Health Sciences LLC in Greenwood Village, Colorado, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Nanosphere Health Sciences is developing a drug delivery technology that the company says encases compounds in nanoscale particles — 1 nanometer equals 1 billionth of a meter — in lipids, natural oils in the body. This delivery process, says Nanosphere, transports the payloads quickly into the blood stream, improving their efficacy and reducing adverse effects. The company makes few of its own products, but offers the technology and manufacturing process for licensing to other enterprises.

The patent covers various compositions of therapeutic nanoparticles, enveloped or suspended in lipids. While the language in the patent initially refers to “nutraceutical compositions,” the text later defines those compositions to cover a broad range of compounds and biological substances. In addition, the patent covers delivery across a variety of cell membranes including mucous, gastrointestinal, and skin membranes, as well as blood-brain barrier, eye tissue, and other internal organs.

Kaufman notes in a company statement, “This patent extends to our 16 forms of lipid nanoparticle structures, which can be applied across health care sectors for vastly improved medical delivery.” The document text spells out a number of processes and structural formulations of nanoparticles covered by the patent. Those nanoparticles can range in size from 20 to 200 nanometers, although smaller nanoparticles — less than 60 nanometers — and with natural lipid formulations are preferred for avoiding reactions as foreign substances, and pass more easily through cell membranes.

An intriguing part of the patent covers lipid nanoparticles for transporting drug compounds across the blood-brain barrier. The text details “a practical carrier system for delivering compounds to the brain via the transcellular lipophilic pathway.” That pathway with smaller-sized nanoparticles, says the patent, makes it possible to pass through the barrier in sufficient quantities for sustained release, as well as protect the payloads from degradation.

Nanosphere says the patent protects the company’s core technology, which it applies to cannabis-based therapeutics and cosmetics, as well as drug compounds and nutritional supplements. One of the company’s more advanced product lines is called Evolve Formulas, launched in June 2017, designed to deliver cannabis-based compounds through the skin for pain relief, applied to various parts of the body where pain is encountered. Nanosphere says it plans to extend Evolve Formulas for delivery through mucous membranes in the nose and mouth.

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