Macromolecular therapeutics and drug targeting

Building upon D4's work in Design, synthesis, assembly and function of nanomedicines and diagnostic agents, this research focuses on understanding the relationship between nanomaterial structure and in vivo deposition and activity.

Working with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, we seek to generate polymeric therapeutics that:

  • are sufficiently large to avoid renal filtration after intravenous administration
  • are sufficiently inert to avoid uptake into the cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system
  • circulate in the body for long periods after a single injection
  • target specific vascular sites and specific tissues, such as tumours
  • release drugs in a site-specific manner

A particular strength is D4's ability to combine synthetic polymer science skills with cell biology and pharmacokinetics experience. In this way, we can very specifically define the impact that nanomaterial structures may have on tissues, intercellular trafficking, drug release and activity.

D4 also has a longstanding collaboration with Melbourne-based biotechnology company Starpharma exploring polylysine dendrimers as next generation macromolecular therapeutics. The first candidate to emerge from this program is currently in development at Starpharma, and is one of very few experimental nanomaterials worldwide to be in clinical trial.

Research laboratories