Aldena Therapeutics and Empa Awarded InnoSuisse Funding to Advance STAR Particles as a Novel Drug Delivery Technology for Dermatology

Boston, Massachusetts, April 26, 2023 – Aldena Therapeutics Inc. (Aldena), a private biotech company pioneering siRNA-based therapies for dermatological indications, and Empa, the Swiss Federal research institute for materials science and technology, have been awarded a joint 600’000 CHF grant by InnoSuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. This StarCURE grant seeks to co-develop microneedle particles as a new skin delivery system, which will enable novel therapeutic approaches in dermatology by revolutionizing the way drugs are delivered and absorbed through the skin.

This groundbreaking microneedle-particle technology, called STAR particles1, now under exclusive license to Aldena was originally discovered and developed by Prof. Mark Prausnitz and Dr. Andrew Tadros at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. These star-shaped ceramic microparticles enable delivery of large, water-soluble molecules into the skin at the site of application. Aldena Therapeutics is pioneering this technology as part of its portfolio of innovative dermatological programs.

The StarCURE collaboration between Aldena and Empa will be conducted over two years and will aim to establish a scalable manufacturing method for STAR particles and to investigate next-generation STAR particle materials that provide added capabilities.

Dr. Claire Bouix-Peter, Chief Operating Officer of Aldena Therapeutics and project coordinator, commented: “This project is a great opportunity to leverage our expertise in dermatology in collaboration with Empa’s world-class materials and science experts to transform STAR particle manufacturing for commercial-scale production.”

Prof. Prausnitz, co-Founder of Aldena Therapeutics, added: “This collaboration will enable the manufacturability and expanded functionality of STAR-particle technology, which is an essential and strategic next step in the development of Aldena.”

Dr. Michael Stuer, Head of the Nanopowders and Ceramics Group at Empa’s High Performance Ceramics lab, remarked: “This is a great example of how our expertise in ceramic materials can be applied to develop a safe and effective drug delivery technology.”

Prof. Patrik Hoffmann, Head of the Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing at Empa, added: “This is a very exciting project and I am confident that our joint research efforts will result in a scalable technology that could revolutionize the way skin drug delivery is viewed in the pharmaceutical industry, providing treatments with greater precision, efficiency, compliance and safety.”