Novel Drug Delivery Platform

Tech ID: 31839 / UC Case 2017-055-0

Invention Novelty

This invention is a novel method for synthetically designing protein carriers (enFoldin) for small molecules.  

Value Proposition

Many current drug delivery systems, such as liposomes, micelles and dendrimers, have issues with stability, efficiency of delivery, and clearance from the body. In addition, these systems are not highly specific for the drug they are meant to deliver. The enFoldins have very high stability and have the potential to result in 100% delivery to desired target with low immune activation. This technology would be highly useful in the field of oncology and other areas of medicine where it is particularly important to get drugs to very specific sites within the body. 

This novel invention provides the following advantages:

  • Highly stable, synthetic protein-based drug delivery vehicles
  • Binds a specific drug molecule with high affinity
  • Flexibility of ligand binding domain allows for release once target is reached
  • Potential for conjugation to ligands or antibodies for targeted treatment
  • Clearance of toxic compounds from the body.

Technology Description

Structural biologists at University of California San Francisco have developed a method for designing a synthetic protein-based delivery system called the enFold technique. This strategy identifies “designable” backbone structures that would encompass the desired small molecule based on predetermined parameters for optimal protein-ligand interaction. The protein products of this method are called enFoldins. These enFoldins are small proteins and they can be composed of either all-L or all-D amino acids (or a mix) as needed to minimize immunogenicity. enFoldins bind to small molecules including drugs with high affinity and can be conjugated to antibodies or constructed to bind cell surface structures to direct it to specific treatment sites. The enFoldin has a binary structure, which includes a rigid core attached to a more flexible ligand-binding region. The novelty of this technology is in the de novo production of the protein carrier, the specificity for the small molecule/cofactor of interest, and the possibility for attaching design components. Advantages include the small size and the ability to engineer pH or protease responsiveness for intracellular drug release. enFoldins are particularly useful for drug delivery of insoluble compounds, drugs that are toxic at off-target sites, and as antidotes for detoxification of drug overdoses. 


  • Drug delivery for therapy
  • Solubilize porphyrins for photodynamic therapy
  • Bind and clear toxins from the body

Looking for Partners

To develop and commercialize this technology as a highly specific drug delivery method or as an agent for detoxification. 

Stage of Development


Related Materials

Data Availability


Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20200234789 07/23/2020 2017-055
European Patent Office Published Application 2017-055
Patent Cooperation Treaty Published Application WO2019023644 01/31/2019 2017-055


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Other Information


Drug delivery, Protein carriers, Targeted treatment, Drug clearance

Categorized As