Recent advances in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields have led to the development of a new generation of pharmaceutical agents to prevent and combat infectious and chronic diseases. These new agents consists of biological macromolecules (often called “biologicals”) that target the root of disease much more specifically than classical chemical drugs. The use of these new therapeutics, such as the case of peptide hormones, antibodies, nucleic acids and enzymes, is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical area with strong potential to cope with major medical needs. The market for these compounds already represents more than $100 billion in annual revenues, including vaccines and immunomodulatory applications, as well as treatments for cancer, inflammatory, metabolic, and genetic conditions.
However, despite their potential, two main obstacles hinder the broad use of these macromolecules: (1) they are easily altered within the human body; hence, their efficiency largely depends on their ability to retain activity long enough as to enable the completion of their function, and (2) their relatively large size and chemical features preclude them from efficiently reaching the tissues and cells where their action is required. IBBR program on Targeted Macromolecular Delivery Systems focuses on developing new avenues to solving these two obstacles.