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Nanomedicine company Nanobiotix (Paris) said that its collaboration with Malaysian Biotechnology (BiotechCorp; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), will initially focus on developing point-of-care (POC) diagnostics and drug delivery systems for tropical diseases, such as malaria. Nanobiotix says that its technology platform, nanoXray, is expected to be turned 'on' and 'off' outside the body to selectively treat a variety of cancers. BiotechCorp has acquired an exclusive, global license to a Nanobiotix nanotechnology platform for non-cancer purposes. Three BiotechCorp scientists will take up residence at Nanobiotix for a year to undergo the technology transfer training.

"We are proud to be the first partner of Nanobiotix outside of its cancer focus," said BiotechCorp's CEO Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood. "We firmly believe that the opportunity to help save millions of lives is in fact a near-term possibility as a result of this collaboration between BiotechCorp and Nanobiotix. Additionally, this collaboration is a significant testimony to the readiness of the Malaysian biotechnology industry in commercializing science to market, whilst addressing challenges in our part of the world."

According to Nanobiotix, malaria can be transmitted through mosquito bites and every year more than 500 million people worldwide become severely ill with the disease. Early diagnosis and effective treatment will shorten its duration and prevent the development of complications and the great majority of deaths from malaria, the company said.

"BiotechCorp offers Nanobiotix a direct route through Asia," said Laurent L vy, PhD, president/CEO of Nanobiotix. "Certainly, their strategic location in the heart of Asia, along with Malaysia's pro-business government, political stability, and cost-effective base for doing business are among the many good reasons we have chosen to partner with BiotechCorp."

L vy will be a keynote speaker on nanotechnology at Bio Malaysia 2008 next month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

According to Nanobiotix, the use of its nanoXray technology is intended to resolve radiation therapy's biggest drawback: destruction of healthy tissue and its subsequent deleterious side effects when a high dose of X-ray is necessary. The core of a nanoXray nanoparticle is an inactive and inert substance — not a drug — that can be activated to locally (intratumor) increase the dose of Xray, which is then expected to lead to higher efficiency. After nanoXray nanoparticles accumulate in the target tissues, a standard X-ray is applied that is intended to generate a local therapeutic effect, designed to destroy only the targeted tumor cells. This mechanism suggests total control of the intended therapeutic effect, according to the company.

BiotechCorp says it has facilitated the development of 71 BioNexus-status companies in Malaysia, with total approved investment of $400 million (RM1.3 billion). BioNexus-status companies are international and Malaysian biotech companies that qualify for fiscal incentives, grants and guarantees administered by BiotechCorp, the company noted.

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