Luna Innovations Inc, Virginia, United States
Keywords: Synthetic nanoparticles, Antivenom, toxin, neutralizationVenomous bites could negatively impact the health and effectiveness of warfighters. In particular, Special Operations Forces that typically deploy in austere areas in the AFRICOM and PACOM regions are associated with an increased risk of envenomation. Current treatment uses species-specific or polyvalent antivenin that is generated from the sera of animals immunized with whole venom. However, they contain an immunoglobulin pool of unknown antigen specificity and known redundancy, necessitating continuous intravenous delivery of large volume of antibodies with increased risk of serum sickness adverse effects and hypersensitivity. Current antivenom manufacture is also problematic with very few approved by the FDA for use in the United States and by US military forces overseas. The cost of antivenin production is high, the time needed to generate them is long, and their long-term shelf stability in austere conditions is poor. Luna has therefore developed a new class of cost-effective synthetic polymer nanoparticle (PNP) antidotes that are capable of recognizing and sequestering a broad spectrum of venomous toxins and neutralizing their toxicity. This product has demonstrated ambient-temperature stability, as a safer alternative to their biological counterparts.