A leader in developing and commercializing nano-biotechnology-based products both in the U.S. and abroad.
Tiny particles continue to make big waves in the world of bioscience, as companies scramble to bring nanotechnology products and solutions to market. Delaware's ANP Technologies has already staked a claim as a leader in developing and commercializing nano-biotechnology-based products both in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Ray Yin was program manager for nanobiotechnology at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in 2001 when the country endured anthrax attacks only weeks after 9/11. "It was clear to me that we needed better ways to quickly identify biothreats," says Yin. Soon after, Yin left ARL and developed a practical tool that soldiers on a battlefield or security officers at airports could use to detect biological agents like anthrax and smallpox by placing a small liquid sample onto a pen-sized detection kit.
In 2002, Yin founded ANP Technologies to continue the development of nanodetection and nanodelivery systems. Since that time, the company has assembled a comprehensive portfolio of patented nanotechnology solutions for applications ranging from drug delivery to chemical and biological defense and food safety testing.
Tiny pieces, big solutions
ANP Tech's detection kits and biotherapeutic solutions provide quicker and more efficient detection processes and drug delivery. The company currently produces kits used by the U.S. Defense Department, Homeland Security and first responders for rapid detection of biowarfare agents, as well as kits for detecting contaminants in water, food and beverages. ANP recently launched a commercial version now available in local grocery stores and online so consumers can test for pesticides in fresh fruit, vegetables, tea leaves, dried fruits, coffee beans, wines and other products.
ANP's current focus is developing alternative delivery mechanisms for drugs that cannot be easily administered through more conventional methods. The company has developed "nanoencapsulation" technologies to encapsulate poorly soluble drugs within nanoparticles for the treatment of lung, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, as well as central nervous system-related diseases. The company has several products in various stages of development, among them a nanoencapsulated form of the cancer-fighting drug Paclitaxel, which is slated for clinical trials in 2015.
The Delaware Advantage
In July 2014, ANP Tech and Israeli partner Mekorot were awarded a Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation grant to develop an automated monitoring system to detect pesticides in water. Yin says that the grant was the direct result of his 2013 visit to Israel as part of the Delaware State Delegation led by Governor Jack Markell and the Secretary of Department of Economic Development Office (DEDO), Alan Levin. Yin explains that he met with a large number of potential partners on the trip, among them Mekorot, which led to the decision to work together and the subsequent BIRD Foundation award.
In August 2014, ANP Tech was awarded a large U.S. Department of Defense subcontract to equip U.S. National Guard units throughout the country with its rapid handheld biothreat or biological warfare agent detection system. This was achieved with the help of Governor Markell and Secretary Levin.
"Delaware is a small state and it is pro-business," says Yin, who has lived and worked in Delaware since for many years. "When we reach out to our government representatives at both the state and federal level, they are responsive and willing to help." Yin notes that Delaware's central location and its proximity to military, government and commercial customers is another important plus. "The top 10 pharmaceutical companies are all within two hours of here."
Yin also enjoys life in the State, noting "the cost of living is low, the school system is good, and the beaches are beautiful." Yin has sought out ways to give back to the community. For example, recently he developed a program to work with high school and university students to study the effects of pesticides on human health and gather data about pesticides on produce bought at local stores and markets.
"After we launched our consumer pesticide detection test kits, we noticed that students were ordering the kits," Yin explains. "We found that they were using the kits for hands-on learning about nutrition, health and food safety, data gathering and even lab techniques." Another project currently in development is to amass data about the presence of pesticides in the region to create a community database. "This is our chance to give back to the community and at the same time train the community's budding scientists so that Delaware can continue to excel in the area of bioscience and technology."