Understanding Exosomes: Nature’s Solution to Delivery in the Body
Exosomes (also referred to as extracellular vesicles or EVs) are natural, multifunctional and stable nanoparticles that transfer cargo and messages between cells. They are produced by a variety of cell types that transmit materials and genetic instructions to co-ordinate cellular activities in our bodies. Natural exosomes can be produced from cells in a bioprocessing facility.
Exosomes are key to cell-to-cell communication, and deliver ‘cargoes’ — such as protein and nucleic acids — to other cells to influence their behaviour. This form of communication can be directed to adjacent cells or those in distal tissues.
Due to their size, stability and composition, exosomes are also likely to overcome some of the issues with drug delivery, including safety concerns, and the logistical issues associated with storage and transport of a ‘live’ product. Because they naturally transfer active ingredients into cells, EVs also hold promise for delivering medicines across the body, particularly in areas that have been traditionally difficult to target such as tumours, the central nervous system (CNS) and the lungs. For some medicines, exosomes are an alternative and superior means for delivery inside the body – alongside technologies such as lipid nanoparticles (LNP), cell penetrating peptides, viral vectors and liposomes.
Although no exosome medicines have yet been approved for sale globally, their potential to treat currently untreatable diseases make them an extremely compelling development opportunity. Exopharm is one of only two exosome companies listed on public markets worldwide and one of a handful of companies taking exosome medicines into clinical trials and eventually commercialisation.