SCOTTISH biotech company Ryboquin has acquired its partner Nanogenic Solutions in a £4.5 million deal which it says will help to “revolutionise” gene therapy.

Ryboquin, spun out of Edinburgh-based medicine developer Ectopharma in 2013, will form a new company called Nanogenics as it develops its artificial virus LipTide, which acts as a custom-built delivery system that can be modified to target different cell types.

The company, based in Selkirk in the Borders, is focused on commercialising patented intellectual property in the area of delivering gene therapy, primarily to cancer patients. LipTide is a protein-based nanoparticle which mimics natural viruses but bypasses the many problems of viral delivery.

Dr Alan Walker, chief executive of Nanogenics, said: “It will offer real hope to those millions of patients living with diseases who have been unable to benefit from the advances in gene therapy because, until now, it has been so difficult to safely deliver the correct gene therapy to the right target.

“That can now change and we are already working with six major biotech companies who want to access this exciting delivery mechanism.”

As well as working with partners to deliver their gene therapy programmes, Nanogenics is developing its own product pipeline, taking advantage of the LipTide delivery platform. LipTide-ECP102, on which Nanogenics has US and EU patents, is said to dramatically enhance chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The firm confirmed that a clinical trial is planned at the Christie Hospital Manchester in 2020. LipTide-ECP102 is currently being scaled up to an industrial batch in collaboration with Strathclyde University.

Nanogenics’ executive chairman, Paul Murray, said that considerable effort had gone into convincing investors of the “huge potential” of LipTide. “We plan to grow the company quickly to a stage where we can take it public as soon as that is feasible,” he said. “It is very rewarding to be involved in the cutting edge of medical science.”