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Pharmaceutics. 2019 Mar 16;11(3). pii: E124. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11030124.

What Drives Innovation: The Canadian Touch on Liposomal Therapeutics.

Author information

1
Cuprous Pharmaceuticals Inc., Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. aleung@cuprous.ca.
2
Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada. aleung@cuprous.ca.
3
Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada. aleung@cuprous.ca.
4
Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada. carolyn.amador13@gmail.com.
5
Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada. lwang@bccrc.ca.
6
Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada. uvijay@bccrc.ca.
7
Cuprous Pharmaceuticals Inc., Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. mbally@bccrc.ca.
8
Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada. mbally@bccrc.ca.
9
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5, Canada. mbally@bccrc.ca.
10
Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada. mbally@bccrc.ca.

Abstract

Liposomes are considered one of the most successful drug delivery systems (DDS) given their established utility and success in the clinic. In the past 40⁻50 years, Canadian scientists have made ground-breaking discoveries, many of which were successfully translated to the clinic, leading to the formation of biotech companies, the creation of research tools, such as the Lipex Extruder and the NanoAssemblr™, as well as contributing significantly to the development of pharmaceutical products, such as Abelcet®, MyoCet®, Marqibo®, Vyxeos®, and Onpattro™, which are making positive impacts on patients' health. This review highlights the Canadian contribution to the development of these and other important liposomal technologies that have touched patients. In this review, we try to address the question of what drives innovation: Is it the individual, the teams, the funding, and/or an entrepreneurial spirit that leads to success? From this perspective, it is possible to define how innovation will translate to meaningful commercial ventures and products with impact in the future. We begin with a brief history followed by descriptions of drug delivery technologies influenced by Canadian researchers. We will discuss recent advances in liposomal technologies, including the Metaplex technology from the author's lab. The latter exemplifies how a nanotechnology platform can be designed based on multidisciplinary groups with expertise in coordination chemistry, nanomedicines, disease, and business to create new therapeutics that can effect better outcomes in patient populations. We conclude that the team is central to the effort; arguing if the team is entrepreneurial and well positioned, the funds needed will be found, but likely not solely in Canada.

KEYWORDS:

Metaplex; drug delivery systems; innovation; lipid nanoparticles; liposomes

Conflict of interest statement

Funding: The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (PJT-153132) and the Canadian Cancer Society (705290)

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