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Liposome drug delivery vector targeting the blood brain barrier

Technology Overview:
Researchers at Leiden University have developed a novel lipid, which when mixed with a naturally occurring phospholipid and formulated into 100 nm liposomes, results in a drug delivery vehicle with a selectivity for the brain endothelium (the blood brain barrier or BBB) of >10-fold over the systemic endothelium. This means that not <1% percent of the injected dose gets delivered to the brain and/or BBB, as is now the case with doxorubicin-filled liposomes, but potentially a 10-fold selectivity for brain endothelium over systemic endothelium or more of a drug can be delivered directly to the brain and/or BBB.   

Potential Applications:
Drugs specifically targeting the brain and/or the BBB, such as treatments for strokes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s).Enhancement of brain and/or BBB (theranostic) imaging.

State of Development:
The BBB-selectivity was shown in zebrafish, that have a genome which is 70% homologous to humans and show a very similar brain morphology, organization and expression of key markers for BBB-function and integrity. Experiments in mammalian models are currently being undertaken.

The researchers have also demonstrated proof-of-principle of successful encapsulation of small molecule drugs as well as larger cargoes in the newly developed nanocarrier.


The researchers are looking for partners from industry/academia/SME to take this invention to the next stage: in vivo testing in mammalian models and models for brain-related diseases.

Luris reference number


Patent status

A patent application is currently being drafted.

Further information

Sara Cigna Knowledge Broker +31-71-527 3837