The challenge: The development of nanoparticles—tiny, virus-sized elements developed in a laboratory—is moving us closer to a new age of precision medicine for cancer and other diseases. University of British Columbia-CDRD spin-off Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI) has developed an automated process that can produce large volumes of nanoparticles faster and at less cost, enabling production on a much larger scale, and reducing toxicity and side effects by delivering a precise dose when it’s needed most.
The response: Co-founders James Taylor and Euan Ramsay began developing the technology that would eventually underpin PNI under the mentorship of Dr. Pieter Cullis, then Scientific Director at CDRD. CDRD supported the founding team, allowing them to raise non-dilutive funding that supported early proof-of-concept studies. It was as a CDRD employee that Ramsay also honed his business development skills. Since 2000, PNI has opened a corporate headquarters in Vancouver, sold its desktop machines to clients in more than 20 countries, attracted more than $13 million in U.S. venture capital and increased revenues nearly 800%. Several new drugs developed with the technology are entering clinical trials.