Liquidia Technologies, a Research Triangle Park drug-development company, has spun out its second new company in the past year.
The latest spinoff, Lq3 Pharmaceuticals, will focus on developing therapies for oral health conditions using Liquidia’s technology. The company has raised $10 in venture capital from an investment group led by Cannaan Partners, Liquidia announced Wednesday.
Lq3 is licensing Liquidia's proprietary Particle Replication In Non-Wetting Templates, or PRINT, technology to develop therapies. PRINT enables precise engineering of the size and shape of microscopic particles, which can then be combined with drugs for delivery to targeted tissues within the body.
The technology has the potential to make the drugs safer – because they only go where they're supposed to go – and more effective, because more concentrated doses can be used.
Kyle Chenet, who had been Liquidia’s vice president for corporate development, has been named Lq3’s chief executive.
“The oral health market is poised for significant growth, driven in part by an increased understanding of the linkage between oral inflammation and infection and systemic diseases such diabetes, obesity and other infammatory diseases,” Chenet said in a statement.
Liquidia’s other recent spin off, Envisia Therapeutics, is also using the PRINT technology to focus on developing ophthalmology products. Envisia was launched in November and has raised $25 million from venture capital firms that have also invested in Liquidia.
Canaan is also an investor in both Liquidia and Envisia.
Liquidia was founded in 2004 based on the nanotechnology research of renowned scientist Joseph DeSimone, who's on the faculty of both N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. DeSimone founded the company with colleagues from UNC.
Liquidia has also licensed the rights to its proprietary nanotechnology to GlaxoSmithKline. The pharmaceutical giant is using the platform in conjunction with its own compounds to develop vaccines and inhaled drugs for respiratory diseases. The multiyear deal with GSK could ultimately be worth up to several hundred million dollars.