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Liquidia wins $7 million in venture capital

Liquidia Technologies scored $7 million in venture capital this month to continue refining chemotherapy and other treatments not to attack healthy tissue. Now the Durham biopharmaceutical company is moving forward with developing a vaccine and testing it on people as early as next year.

Liquidia's technology can mold nanoparticles into desired shapes and sizes to target specific tissue. Currently, treatments like chemotherapy work like napalm, a scorched earth blast that destroys healthy tissue along with tumors.

This month's round of venture capital was led by Canaan Partners, Pappas Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, bringing the company's total raised to $31.5 million.

NCSU researchers tap virus to deliver cancer therapy

Viruses have an envious ability to infiltrate cells, so scientists have been searching for ways to use them as a vehicle for delivering therapies instead of illness.

That approach appears to be working for N.C. State University researchers, who have found a benign plant virus that they have modified and loaded up with tiny amounts of chemotherapy for a potential cancer treatment.

The work has been led by Stefan Franzen, a professor of chemistry, and Steven Lommel, a professor of plant pathology and genetics. They reported their findings today.

Here's how it works: The exterior of the virus is modified with a protein that makes it attractive to cancer cells. Once inside the tumor cells, the virus releases a payload of nanoparticle chemotherapy that the scientists have packed into its structure.

“We had tried a number of different nanoparticles as cell-targeting vectors,” Franzen said in a prepared statement. “The plant virus is superior in terms of stability, ease of manufacture, ability to target cells and ability to carry therapeutic cargo.”

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