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Fuzionaire to Collaborate with McGill University to Advance Chemistry Platform for Incorporation of Silicon into Pharmaceuticals

Friday, September 02, 2022

Fuzionaire, Inc. has announced a collaborative research agreement with McGill University aimed at harnessing the potential of the company's proprietary alkali metal catalyst platform. The partnership will focus on the creation of innovative heterocyclic, biologically active, silicon-containing scaffolds, and the development of new silicon-based drug candidates.

The introduction of new silicon-containing scaffolds, where a carbon atom is substituted with a silicon atom, holds significant promise for the development of a diverse range of silicon-based drug candidates. These candidates have the potential to offer improved efficacy and safety compared to their carbon-based counterparts.

Silicon, the second-most abundant element in the Earth's crust, shares several properties with carbon, including biocompatibility and low toxicity, as they belong to the same group on the periodic table. By making slight structural modifications through a carbon/silicon switch, the biological properties of a drug can be altered, potentially enhancing its effectiveness and safety. This approach opens up the possibility of converting existing drugs with unfavorable biochemical or pharmacokinetic properties into new silicon-based forms for the treatment of various diseases.

Despite the abundant availability of silicon, its exploration in drug development has been limited due to the challenges associated with synthesizing silicon-containing structures. As a result, there are currently only a small number of silicon-containing compounds being investigated for pharmaceutical applications.

Fuzionaire's alkali metal catalyst platform serves as a valuable tool for incorporating silicon into organic molecules, paving the way for the expanded utilization of silicon in the discovery and design of future generations of pharmaceuticals. The company's patented technology, as reported in Nature, enables the creation of previously unexplored organosilicon compounds by safely incorporating silicon into organic molecules using an inexpensive potassium catalyst. This approach stands in contrast to other methods that often rely on costly precious metal catalysts and face practical limitations.

Jean-Philip Lumb, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry at McGill, emphasized the significance of this advancement: "The potential benefits of employing silicon in therapeutics have been recognized for decades, but progress in developing silicon-based drugs has been hindered by a lack of general methods for creating organosilicon scaffolds. New chemistry opens up new possibilities."

Nick Slavin, co-founder and CEO of Fuzionaire, expressed the company's vision: "Silicon-based medicines will play a crucial role in the future of healthcare, and our goal is for our platform, along with the library of scaffolds and pipeline of drug candidates developed through it, to accelerate this future."

The collaborative efforts between Fuzionaire and the Lumb Lab will initially focus on oncology, leveraging the longstanding expertise of McGill and the Lumb Lab in silicon chemistry. Since 2020, Fuzionaire affiliate Fuzionaire Diagnostics has been working with McGill to develop a library of heteroaromatic silicon-fluoride acceptors, known as HetSiFAs®, as a platform for creating diagnostic and theranostic radiopharmaceuticals.

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