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Working to Bring a Novel Drug Delivery System to Patients with Chronic Lung Disease

May 17, 2010
Neera Vij, Ph.D.

Neeraj Vij, Ph.D.

On the faculty of Johns Hopkins’ Department of Pediatrics  and Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Neeraj Vij is a living example of Johns Hopkins’ famed bench to bedside approach to medicine, one that continually changes and improves it. Vij directs the Pulmonary Nanomedicine, Accelerated Translational Incubator Program funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of a novel nano-therapeutic drug delivery system for pediatric and adult lung diseases. In a bid to translate his own novel research into better care for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and other chronic lung diseases, Vij took part in Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer ’s recent 2010 BioMatch, designed to help Hopkins inventors find an industry partner or financial resources to bring a product to market.

Children and adults with CF and other obstructive lung diseases are in urgent need of more effective methods of delivering therapeutic agents, including anti-inflammatory drugs, to the lungs. What’s needed is a means of directly targeting affected areas. In his laboratory, Vij and his colleagues have developed and since licensed a novel nano-drug delivery system that could usher in tremendous advances in care.  

“We have developed a novel delivery system that provides a sustained and targeted release of drugs to airways or inflammatory cells,” he says. “It offers a non-invasive and convenient therapeutic vehicle for the treatment of chronic lung diseases.” 

The sole pediatric participant in this year’s BioMatch, Vij presented the product concept directly to CEOs and entrepreneurs with biotech interests that could either purchase the rights on system’s license or provide the funds necessary to start up a company to manufacture the technology. In a sort of “speed dating” arrangement, 10 Johns Hopkins inventors, including Vij, met 10 top entrepreneurs in a biotech building of the recently developed science and technology park, adjacent to the Johns Hopkins medical campus. Each had minutes to describe and pitch his or her technology to representatives from such potential biotech partners as the New Enterprise Associates, LifeTech Research, Adjuvant Global Advisors and Black Rock Bio.  

“Our technology got a lot of interest,” says Vij, who is now putting together a business plan. “This tech transfer program, which fosters faculty entrepreneurship, really does support Johns Hopkins’ historic mission of bringing knowledge, and the fruits of medical research, to the world." 

Watch  Hopkins BioMatch 2010 in action. 

Read more  about Vij’s and colleagues’ development of novel nano-drug delivery systems for chronic lung diseases.