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Fuzionaire to Collaborate with McGill University to Advance Chemistry Platform for Incorporation of Silicon into Pharmaceuticals

New silicon-based drugs made with Fuzionaire’s proprietary alkali metal catalyst platform could offer improved efficacy and reduced toxicity

THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fuzionaire, Inc. today announced a collaborative research agreement with McGill University that will leverage the company’s proprietary alkali metal catalyst platform in creating novel heterocyclic, biologically active, silicon-containing scaffolds and new silicon-based drug candidates.

New silicon-containing scaffolds, where a carbon atom is replaced with a silicon atom, would enable a wide array of new silicon-based drug candidates that could have improved efficacy and safety as compared to their carbon-based counterparts.

Silicon is the second-most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Belonging to the same group in the periodic table as carbon, silicon shares many of its properties, including biocompatibility and low toxicity. Because of slight structural differences, a carbon/silicon switch can modify the biological properties of a drug and potentially enhance its efficacy and safety. Existing drugs that are currently disfavored because of poor biochemical or pharmacokinetic properties could be converted into new silicon forms and used to treat a wide array of diseases.

To date, silicon has not been well-explored in drug development because it is difficult to synthesize silicon-containing structures. Consequently, there are only a small number of silicon-containing compounds under current investigation for pharmaceutical use.

As a platform for the incorporation of silicon into organic molecules, Fuzionaire’s alkali metal catalyst platform could help pave the way for a larger role for silicon in the discovery and design of future generations of pharmaceuticals.

As initially reported in Nature, Fuzionaire’s patented technology enables the incorporation of silicon into organic molecules to create many previously unexplored organosilicon compounds. The synthetic technology is safe and based on an inexpensive potassium catalyst. This is in contrast with many other methods used for incorporating silicon, which often require expensive precious metal catalysts and have other practical limitations.

“The potential upside of using silicon in therapeutics has been recognized for decades, but progress in developing silicon drugs has been impeded, in part, by a lack of general methods to create organosilicon scaffolds,” said Jean-Philip Lumb, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry at McGill. “With new chemistry, new possibilities are created.”

“Silicon-based medicines will be an important part of the future of healthcare, and our goal is for our platform, and the library of scaffolds and pipeline of drug candidates developed with it, to help accelerate this future,” said Nick Slavin, co-founder and CEO of Fuzionaire.

Fuzionaire’s collaboration with the Lumb Lab to make new silicon-containing scaffolds and drug candidates will begin with a focus on oncology.

The expertise of McGill and the Lumb Lab in silicon chemistry is longstanding. Since 2020, Fuzionaire affiliate Fuzionaire Diagnostics has been working with McGill in the development of a library of heteroaromatic silicon-fluoride acceptors, or HetSiFAs®, as a platform to make diagnostic and theranostic radiopharmaceuticals.

About Fuzionaire

Fuzionaire is a central laboratory developing new technologies and ventures based on discoveries in fundamental chemistry made at Caltech. Leveraging Earth-abundant, alkali metal catalysts and reagents, the way in which we make and break bonds is versatile, efficient, and sustainable, creating new opportunities in medicine, energy, and materials.

For more, visit us at:

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students.


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Rebecca Ewing
903 215 0296
Jones-Dilworth, Inc.

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Last Updated: 01-Sep-2022