Earlier this year, Sona Nanotech announced that it had chosen Minnetronix Medical to engineer the second generation of its infrared light device. We caught up with leaders of both companies to learn more about each organization and to discover how this partnership between the two companies came about.
What is Sona Nanotech?
Sona Nanotech is a nanotechnology life sciences company that develops multiple proprietary methods for the manufacture of various types of gold nanoparticles. Our principal business is the development and application of its proprietary technologies for use in multiplex diagnostic testing platforms that will improve performance over existing tests in the market. Sona Nanotech’s gold nanorod particles are cetyltrimethylammonium (CTAB) free, eliminating the toxicity risks associated with the use of other gold nanorod technologies in medical applications. We expect Sona’s gold nanotechnologies may be adapted for use in such applications, as a safe and effective delivery system for multiple medical treatments, subject to the approval of various regulatory boards, including Health Canada and the FDA.
Right now, we are focused on using our gold nanorods to develop pre-clinical Targeted Hyperthermia Therapy (THT) for colorectal cancer. We partnered with Minnetronix Medical to engineer the second-generation of this infrared light device.
Why did Sona select Minnetronix Medical to engineer its infrared light device?
We chose Minnetronix Medical after an exhaustive search. Minnetronix topped the list because of its capabilities and deep experience in optics and its focus on quality, reputation, and price-value equation. Minnetronix is the optimal solution for Sona.
Minnetronix helped us prove out our science with investors – showing them how version 2.0 can be most effectively and efficiently developed and evolved into 3.0. Minnetronix is helping design our device for manufacturing and scalability when it comes time to meet clinician and patient demand.
The technologically sophisticated light device that the optics team at Minnetronix is helping develop and will manufacture for us is the heart of our device.
Can you share a bit more on the capabilities of this device?
Our studies to date have shown the ability of infrared light to heat gold nanorods in vivo when applied to the exterior of cancerous tumors in mice. We’re leveraging Minnetronix’s medical device engineering expertise to evolve our light device to provide infrared light internally, using existing gastroenterology scopes, for our developing colorectal cancer THT therapy.
The device transfers energy by way of infrared light to Sona’s proprietary, biocompatible gold nanorods in cancerous tumors which will then convert the light energy into heat. The light device is being designed to fit in the auxiliary channel of the sigmoidoscopes and colonoscopes used by oncology gastroenterologists.
The device targets heat directly to the tumor and achieves hyperthermia instead of ablation, destroying cancerous cells selectively.
Sona is based in Nova Scotia. What was your impression of Minnesota’s Medical Alley (the large cluster of medical device expertise in the state) with regards to medical devices prior to partnering with Minnetronix?
Prior to partnering with Minnetronix we were only partially aware of the medtech cluster in Minnesota. Our knowledge of it came from one of our corporate directors who was the long-time head of Medtronic Canada, the local arm of the global juggernaut based in Minnesota. It made complete sense to us then that there would be many complementary, ancillary, and competitive companies in the same industry, of which Minnetronix is obviously an important one.
What is Minnetronix Medical?
Since 1996, Minnetronix Medical, based in St. Paul, has accelerated medical device breakthroughs as a design, development, and manufacturing partner to leading device companies around the world. Today, through lifecycle efficiency, opportunity realization, and increased utility, the company creates value in key technology segments that include optical systems, RF energy, fluid and gas management, and stimulation and active wearables. From design and manufacturing services to whole product solutions, Minnetronix has the expansive industry insight and technical acumen to deliver better medical devices to market, faster.
Our expertise in optical devices includes complex opto-mechanics, illumination system design, optical system integration, power and heat management, and LED and laser system.
What does it mean to you to be chosen by Sona Nanotech for this partnership?
Nanotechnology has been talked about for a couple of decades yet there have been limited developments commercialized. Now, this technology is really taking off. There is a lot of research supporting nanotechnology but, until now, no one has done what we’re doing. We have the right people and access to all the right parts and are putting them together to bring Sona’s device to life. This is the only device with biocompatible gold nanorods and it has so much potential for future applications, such as drug delivery.
How does this infrared light device compare to other devices you have developed or manufactured?
Minnetronix has developed illumination systems for a number of medical devices, ranging from endoscope illumination that must meet the imaging system and achieve multiple therapeutic wavelengths to ablation of tissue requiring significant safety controls for safe operation. Appropriate brightness, wavelength, uniformity, and power levels all vary based on the needs of the application. Given our experience in developing a wide range of illumination systems, we are efficient at meeting the needs of these devices and providing prototypes through commercially manufacturable devices.