"On-Dose" Anticounterfeiting Vendor Looks at Stem Cell Opportunities

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2009

NanoInk adapts its nano-manipulation technology to other life sciences applications

NanoInk (Skokie, IL), whose NanoGuardian subsidiary is


to readers of Pharmaceutical Commerce through its efforts to commercialize a method of encoding the surface of pills to forestall counterfeit products, has opened a division called NanoStem Cell. The new division will apply the company’s proprietary nanopatterning Dip Pen Nanolithography technology to stem cells.

“The techniques we use to build encrypted structures on the side of dosage forms are the same as the general techniques used to create chips that can direct and control stem cells,” says James Hussey, CEO, in an interview.

Each biochip contains a pattern of millions or billions of structures as well as chemistry that it conveys to a population of adult stem cells to control growth. “The stem cells always become what the pattern communicates,” says Hussey. Such a process yields both reliable consistency and a renewable source of differentiated adult stem cells, the lack of which currently frustrates drug researchers in their discovery and development efforts.

In essence, says Hussey, the process is a first step in synthetic biology to control cell growth. “This is nanofabrication; nanomanufacturing,” he adds, contrasting NanoInk’s structure-building capability with its nanoparticle and nanotube predecessors. “It’s the difference between building structures and forming particles at nanoscale.”

And as an aside to drug industry executives, Hussey notes the coming convergence of the nanotechnology and biotech disciplines: “If you don’t have nanofabrication expertise in your company, you should think about getting some.”

Haris Jamil, VP for stem cell research, heads the new NanoInk division. “We will be able to provide pharmaceutical and biotech companies with access to a large, renewable source of homogeneous stem cells—an invaluable aid in component screening, toxicity testing, and lead candidate validation,” he says in a press release.

Anti-counterfeiting web site

Within days of the NanoStem Cell division announcement, the company’s NanoGuardian division unveiled a web site that offers information and resources to fight illegal diversion and counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals. The site,


, also provides information on the company’s NanoEncryption on-dose brand protection solution.

CEO Hussey says that, without adding anything to a drug product, NanoEncryption technology “fabricates codes that are not observable by the naked eye. We’re not taking away, not adding anything, to fabricate the codes,” he says. The technology is viable for coated and uncoated tablets, capsules, and biologics via NanoEncryption of single-use vial caps.

Hussey says that the technology is currently in assessment or development at 14 companies on some 22 products.

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