Delivering nucleic acid-based drugs successfully to internal tissues is a tough challenge, and ProNAi has been working with Novosom to develop an effective way to deliver its PNT100 drug candidate using its "Smarticles" technology which it now plans to license. "We have developed a GMP-enabling oligo delivery method that allows us to submit an IND, and we expect more significant milestones to be met in the near future," said Richard Gill, president and CEO of ProNAi. "The successful delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs has been the 'holy grail' of the industry for many years, and we are confident that our combined approach will yield promising outcomes." US firm ProNAi is a biopharmaceutical company currently developing DNAi-based drug candidates with the potential to treat cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast and colon cancer. Germany's Novosom has developed a formulation technology under the 'Smarticles' banner that has been shown to deliver nucleic acid sequences into cells effectively. Novosom's technology is based on lipid particles (liposomes), a vehicle that has been used for many years to deliver drugs with poor bioavailability. Like conventional liposomes, the firm's Smarticles are stable in blood and distribute in the same manner, but they have one fundamental difference. They become positively charged when they cross cell membranes, leading to effective delivery of their cargo within cells. The liver and spleen, along with sites of inflammation and tumours, are primary targets for the charged liposomes. The deal includes an upfront payment, milestone payments and royalties, as well as a mixture of cash and equity, said the companies.