With rapid technological progress and increasing demands for safe and efficacious drugs, experts are coming up with technological solutions that eliminate the barriers to clinical success. These solutions are paving the way for breakthroughs that were unthinkable even a decade ago. However, therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders have been a stubborn exception. For decades the development of successful drugs for the treatment of CNS disorders such as dementia has been stalled because these drugs cannot enter the brain from the blood. There is a special cellular barrier—the blood brain barrier—that restricts access to the brain for all types of drugs. Despite billions being spent on R&D, no technology has yet been approved for clinical use that effectively solves this issue.
Enter Braizon Therapeutics. A combination of the words ‘Brain’ and ‘Horizon’, Braizon is changing the industry narrative by making it possible to cross the horizon (blood brain barrier) into the brain. In doing so, the company is commercializing a technology that can significantly mitigate this problem with a drug delivery system. With this technology, Braizon is empowering the pharma industry with a solution to deliver not only traditional small molecule drug compounds, but also the exciting new classes of biological drugs, such as nucleic acids, antibodies, and peptide drugs, to the brain.
At the core, Braizon’s delivery technology combines the advantages of packaging drugs within polymer nanoparticles using glucose as a targeting ligand, with control of the natural physiological response to fasting. Illustrating the process of drug delivery into the brain, Mariko Tosu, President and CEO, Braizon Therapeutics, explains, “Encapsulation of drugs occurs spontaneously in aqueous solutions due to careful engineering of polymer properties; the resulting nanoparticles have an outer coating of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and display glucose ligands on the surface. This encapsulation does not require a chemical bond between the carrier and drug, but protects the drugs from being removed from the bloodstream extending their useful period in the body.” In order to quickly deliver effective drugs to patients suffering from brain diseases, Braizon makes it possible to optimize the encapsulation of the drug with its advanced technology.
We aspire to become the Intel in the realm of CNS disorders, powering the basic technology to deliver drugs into the brain beyond the blood-brain barrier
Mariko emphasizes that under fasting conditions, the brain uniquely responds to the reduced availability of glucose in the blood to enable the preferential uptake of glucose to the brain once fasting is over. This occurs as the brain uses up to 20 percent of the glucose that we ingest from food. A special form of transporter protein, GLUT1, which is highly selective for glucose facilitates the uptake of glucose from the blood into the brain. GLUT1 in adults is present at its highest level in the cells lining the blood vessels of the blood brain barrier. “By combining the cellular recycling of GLUT1 during the restoration of blood glucose after fasting with our glucosylated polymer micelles, we can deliver drugs to the brain efficiently, and highly specifically,” she adds.
Currently in the early phases of the application, Braizon’s technology is already creating ripples in the industry. In keeping with the demands of the pharma industry, the company is driving its efforts with the delivery of antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) for therapy. “Currently these types of drugs must be injected directly into the spine in a risk procedure, but Braizon has shown successful delivery of parenteral-administered ASO and knockdown of the target in pre-clinical development,” informs Mariko. “We aspire to become the Intel in the realm of CNS disorders, powering the basic technology to deliver drugs into the brain beyond the blood-brain barrier.”
The uniqueness of Braizon stems from the experience and expertise its management team brings to the table. Backed by a dynamic and passionate team with excellent capabilities and diverse experience in leadership, finance, business alliances, drug development, and clinical translation Braizon is right on track to evolve into a strong therapeutic development company focused on CNS. Besides, the company is working with existing partners and actively recruiting new ones to bring together the power of knowledge, technology, and people for accelerating the development of medicines for CNS disorders. With Mariko at the helm, the team was selected by the government of Japan in June for the J-Startup program organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
Continuing its innovation streak, Braizon’s technology is paving the path for new therapeutic approaches to address unmet medical needs in this realm. On a mission to improve the quality of life of people with CNS disorders, which severely impacts hundreds of millions, Braizon recently established a U.S. subsidiary and began R&D operations at the biotech startup incubator LabCentral in Cambridge, MA. With this geographical expansion, the company plans to facilitate its existing and future relationships in North America. “Moving forward, Braizon intends to remain an agile organization with the capacity to respond quickly to market and technology changes, and will work with specialized partners for many aspects of our future developments,” concludes Mariko.