Using Milk Exosomes to Enhance Oral Drug Delivery


Problem: Many pharmaceuticals must be administered intravenously due to their poor oral bioavailability. In addition to issues associated with sterility and inconvenience, the cost of repeated infusion over a six-week course of therapy costs the healthcare system tens of billions of dollars per year and forces some patients to leave the comfort of their home and be exposed to other sick patients during treatment. Considering that many of these patients are elderly and immune-suppressed, the risk of contracting hospital-acquired infections increases dramatically, which greatly compromises patient outcomes, significantly enhances the chances of mortality, and further increases costs.

Solution: A CU research group led by Dr. Anchordoquy has developed a drug delivery system to enhance therapeutic uptake in the gastrointestinal tract using a naturally occurring mechanism based on milk exosomes. Specifically, the inventors have demonstrated that milk exosomes are absorbed from the gut as intact particles and can be modified with ligands to bolster bioavailability and promote retention in target tissues. The work to date has focused on small molecule therapeutics, but could potentially be expanded to include peptides or nucleic acids.
In addition to delivery, the technology includes isolation and loading approaches that have been validated in a mouse model wherein oral bioavailabilities greater than 10% have been achieved.

Advantages and Value Propositions: Exosomes are being investigated in part due to their capacity to protect nucleic acid therapeutics, namely antisense RNA and mRNA drugs, during oral delivery. Thus, the invention disclosed here has the potential to penetrate a rapidly expanding space with a high potential for market growth. Similarly, mRNA and monoclonal antibody therapeutics may benefit from delivery via exosomes rather than intravenous or intratissue delivery, global markets that were valued at $1.2 billion and $107 billion in 2020 respectively.


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For Information, Contact:
Mary Tapolsky
University of Colorado
Thomas Anchordoquy
Michael Graner
Jamie Betker
Brittany Angle
Disease Areas:
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