A Bionaut™ is a new treatment modality that uses microscale robots to deliver biologics or small molecule therapies locally to targeted disease areas to help patients suffering from severe brain disorders.

Two of our earliest indications are for glioma and Huntington’s disease. While these are both rare diseases, the impact on the lives of patients is devastating and there are few effective treatment options.

A Bionaut™ is the fusion of a platform and a therapeutic into a new modality. The Bionaut-therapeutic containing the drug targets a disease similar to how a traditional modality targets a disease.

Just as medicines are designed to engage drug targets in a highly selective manner, Bionauts™ are custom-engineered therapeutic micro-robots that target payloads to specific locations in the body.

Bionauts™ can be constructed in different versions with custom geometries and surface characteristics. Smaller than a millimeter, they contain moving parts controlled remotely by a compact magnetic controller, allowing them to move, slice tissue and release a therapeutic payload from the cargo compartment.

Our in-house engineers can design and deliver Bionauts™ with a range of sizes, payloads, shapes, topologies, and functions—all driven by the disease site being targeted, the route required to reach that site, the therapeutic payload, and how the therapy needs to be dosed at its target site. Engineering flexibility provides a broad foundation for designing Bionaut™ therapies for nearly any disease focus.

Roughly half of all approved medicines treat diseases that are local in nature where precision targeting with Bionaut™ therapeutics could offer efficacy and safety that can’t be achieved by other modalities. The broader potential of Bionauts™ extends to many diseases where conventional therapies are limited or lacking. Two diseases we are initially targeting—Huntington’s disease and glioma—have limited treatment options.

Bionauts™ enable safe, minimally invasive access to deep brain structures to treat CNS disorders by facilitating precise delivery of therapeutic agents. This approach enhances efficacy and eliminates off-target toxicity, while also allowing the targeting of a wide range of localized diseases with almost any type of therapy. This includes diseases of the brain and central nervous system, which are hard to treat with conventional therapies struggling to cross the blood-brain barrier.

For example, with Huntington’s disease there are no disease-modifying therapeutics available. While several potential therapeutics are showing promise in mid- to late-stage clinical development, being able to deliver the necessary therapeutic dose to the midbrain in a safe manner would greatly benefit patients.

Bionauts™ can be engineered to optimize the therapeutic index in different diseases. Because Bionauts™ are multifunctional, they also hold the potential to redefine surgery in a non-invasive or micro-invasive way, as well as be used as a diagnostic device.

The Bionaut™ approach allows us to be free of the constraints of conventional entry corridors and safe passageways that are limitations of conventional neurosurgery. They make it possible to get to where we want, providing the freedom to explore entirely new pathways and return without leaving a footprint.

While conventional technologies use established routes through the body, such as the vasculature, Bionauts™ can travel “off road” to traverse all but the densest tissue in a non-invasive to minimally invasive manner. For example, Bionauts™ can navigate through cerebrospinal fluid, the ventricular system, the cisterna magna, as well as through brain tissue, in a safe and precise manner.

Our imaging technology and precision controls allow an operator to guide a Bionaut™ with the optimal speed, motion, and route, taking advantage of natural seams in the tissue. The technology will also include operator feedback mechanisms to prevent departure from safe trajectories.

Bionauts™ have the potential to provide a safer alternative to other interventions designed to treat localized conditions. Our rigorous preclinical testing program is establishing the safety of Bionauts™ and laying the groundwork for human trials.

To maximize their safety in a specific indication, Bionauts™ are custom designed to have the optimal size, topology, and functionality needed to safely navigate to the disease site.

We envision Bionauts™ that are engineered as a unique modality of closed-loop therapeutics, combining continuous disease monitoring and customized therapeutics delivery, as well as other medical interventions on demand, including localized stimulation, ablation or microsurgery.

As we continue to develop the Bionaut™ platform, we expand a pipeline of partnership opportunities across multiple high-value clinical indications and therapies to advance the technology to patients.

How big is a Bionaut?

Bionauts are custom made and can deliver therapeutic payloads between 100s of nanometers to single millimeters.

A Bionaut being directed through the spinal tissue to the desired target area.