Nanogetic is participating in research on the pandemic with a twofold focus: diagnostics and therapeutics. The company, which is located in Granada’s Health Technology Park, was a beneficiary of grants from Invest in Spain in 2014 and 2016
Nanogetic is one of the few companies in Spain dedicated to nanobiotechnology. Located in Granada’s Health Technology Park (PTS), it is a pioneer in the research into “nanotechnology tools in heavy-chain antibodies”, according to the Cuaderno de Cultura Científica in an article published in 2016.
In simple terms, Nanogetic designs nanoparticles that act directly on damaged cells either with antibodies, drugs or other solutions. It offers this service in a personalised way to the companies with which it works, both in Spain and internationally.
Nanogetic was founded in July 2013 by a group of researchers led by Rosario M. Sánchez-Martín, a professor at Granada University, and according to its website is “one of the few companies worldwide that offers the design and production of innovative and customizable nanosystems”. Its mission is to develop techniques that allow it to generate and modify nanospheres with which to create clinical diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.
Sánchez-Martín is regarded as one of the leading specialists worldwide in the development of nanotechnology tools for the field of biomedicine. The Andalusian company supplements its R&D work with collaborations with national and international research centers, universities and companies. One of its most important customers is the Italian pharmaceutical company Fidia Farmaceutici.
When it was starting out, the company obtained two subsidies from Invest in Spain. In 2014 it received a grant for 84,700 euros in the program to promote the installation of foreign companies in Spain, to which it applied with a project entitled “Anti-carcinogenic Trojan horses”, involving the development of nanodevices that combine therapeutic agents and hyaluronic acid-degrading enzymes.
Two years later, in 2016, Nanogetic received another 75,950 euros from the program for investment by foreign companies in R&D activities. That same year, the firm was recognized by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness as one of its 30 young innovative companies.
Anti Covid-19 project
At the beginning of April, during the health care emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge, Companies and Universities in the Andalusian Regional Government launched, through the Andalusian knowledge agency (AAC), the initiative entitled PLAnd Covid-19 (the Spanish abbreviation of the Andalusian Platform for the Reception, Identification, Analysis and Transfer of Skills and Innovation Solutions) to fight this disease. The aim was to gather together all the possible technologies and innovative solutions that can contribute to finding a response to this infection.
Nanogetic was one of the 80 innovative Andalusian entities to sign up within 24 hours of the announcement. Its contribution could therefore be useful in the fight against the healthcare crisis, and the fact that it is channeled through this public initiative will ensure greater efficacy, speed and effectiveness for the solutions proposed by the various participating institutions.
The AAC received the proposals in the first phase, and in the second phase determined the needs covered by each one in order to be able to plan their promotion and dissemination. In the third phase, each offer will be channeled towards the corresponding elements in the healthcare system so they can be used to address a real demand.
Diagnostic and therapeutic approach
Nanogetic's proposal has a twofold approach – both diagnostic and therapeutic – based on single-domain camelid antibodies: “Their exceptional physicochemical properties, the possibility of humanization and their unique antigen recognition properties make them excellent candidates for diagnostics and for the field of therapeutics”.
The therapeutic application for generating both vaccines and drugs to treat the disease is based on the study of camelids which has defined the work of Nanogetic since its beginnings, and from research to support their theses: “As has been demonstrated recently by Belgian scientists, single-domain camelid antibodies are capable of neutralizing the new coronavirus”.
In regard to its diagnostic application, the proposal presented by the Granada-based company to the AAC states that single-domain camelid antibodies are capable of “recognizing the new sars-cov-2 virus in a highly specific manner”, and explains: “By coupling sdAbs with a range of diagnostic tools we can generate rapid diagnostic tests for the detection of Covid-19. These types of test would allow the specific antigens of the sars-cov-2 virus to be detected in whole blood, serum or plasma”.
Nanogetic's work on this development is still in the research phase, but the hope is that – sooner rather than later – it can come up with a solution that is available for its large-scale application.