OxSonics was spun out in 2013 from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford by Professor Constantin Coussios. The Company is developing ground-breaking ultrasound-based drug delivery technology to improve tissue penetration of drugs.
Concave sub-micron sized particles are injected into the bloodstream which can be excited by ultrasound pulses that cause small air bubbles localised in the particle cavity to expand and contract rapidly by a process called cavitation. When the ultrasound probe excites particles at a tumour site, the cavitation generates forces that push systemic drugs into the tumour through the leaky vasculature caused by the rapid blood vessel generation (angiogenesis) typical of tumours. The process has been shown to significantly increase the penetration of drugs into tumours, allowing for smaller systemic dosing alongside increased drug efficacy. Alongside stimulating the particles, OxSonics has developed an ultrasound probe, that allows physicians to simultaneously excite the particles and receive real-time feedback, visualising their penetration into a tumour on a screen using a process called passive acoustic mapping.
The technology is being directed towards new generations of biologic and small-molecule oncology drugs that often struggle to penetrate solid tumours due to their size. A major advantage of the technology is that no oncology drug reformulation is required whatsoever meaning that the technology can be readily applied to both on-market drugs and those in development.