BOSTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- New research is making clear that "super" molecularly imprinted polymers ("MIPs") developed at Semorex, a US based biotechnology company with a subsidiary in Israel, hold tremendous potential for a new category of gastrointestinal drugs, as well for a highly diverse range of sensors. The update was provided at the winter meeting of the Materials Research Society (MRS) by Bernard Green, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Semorex and Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy in Jerusalem. The MRS meeting features more than 4,000 research papers on current trends in interdisciplinary materials research, as well as advances in fields ranging from biomaterials for tissue engineering to drug delivery.
"Studies at Semorex have demonstrated that MIPs can be 'programmed' with high molecular specificity and unlimited chemical variations," said Dr. Green. "Semorex proprietary synthetic polymers have high affinity, are far more stable, and less expensive to produce than the natural antibodies that they essentially mimic."
Semorex is pursuing development of its MIPs as a new class of polymer- based drugs for removal of toxic bile acids in the gastrointestinal tract, said Morris Priwler, Chief Executive Officer of Semorex.
"Toxic bile acids may play a major role in the onset of several disease states, including colon and esophageal cancers, reflux disease, gallstone formation, and atherosclerosis, and are a perfect target for Semorex MIPs," said Priwler. "The commercial and medical success of older polymer-based sequestrant drugs, including Welchol(R) and Questran(R), set strong therapeutic and regulatory precedent for new competitors in this field, albeit with improved technologies."
Semorex "super" MIPs also represent the chance to develop highly specific chemical and other sensors, particularly those that are needed to perform in extreme environments of pressure and temperature -- e.g., where biologically- derived recognition elements cannot be used, said Dr. Green. MIP-based technology can be adapted to any currently used sensor system, including:
-- Piezoelectric (mass or microviscosity alternation);
-- Electromagnetic radiation measurement, through optical sensors (e.g.,
through fluorescent tagging);
-- Electrochemical sensing;
-- Chemiresistive changes (changes in resistance as polymer expands).
"New MIPs offer considerable advantages for highly specific molecular recognition over competing polymer technologies, including the development of 'smart materials,' sensors for a wide variety of industrial and military applications, as well as improved diagnostic and research tools that can be programmed to selectively bind to target molecules, proteins and other substances," Dr. Green noted.
The MRS presentation was coauthored by Rob Umpleby, Ph.D., Inna Pergament, Ph.D., Alexander Strikovovsky, Ph.D., and Arie Gruzman, all of Semorex; and Shimon Farber and Sridhar Malayalam, Ph.D., both of Hebrew University. Semorex focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of advanced polymer systems for use as therapeutics and diagnostics. An international group of biologists, physicians, chemists and polymer scientists formed the Company in order to develop polymeric systems that mimic the selectivity of antibodies but have the stability and ease of manufacture of traditional synthetic systems. Semorex has filed for patents covering its unique classes of MIPs and other synthetic compounds as well as special production techniques.