Editor’s note: WRAL TechWire and the Council for Entrepreneurial development are partnering to present a series of profiles and Q&As featuring companies startups and emerging companies that participated in the CED’s annual Life Science conference coming up Feb. 28-March 1 in Raleigh. The latest profile is RTP-based SiNON Therapeutics.

SiNON Therapeutics

  • Website: http://www.sinontp.com
  • CEO: Afreen Allam
  • Contact information: allam@sinontp.com
  • Sub-sector: Drug Delivery                                                                
  • Headquarters: Research Triangle Park, NC
  • Year Founded: 2014
  • Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVSj1PCLyqo


SiNON Therapeutics has developed a novel method of crossing the blood brain barrier, which is effective, non-invasive, and most importantly can be utilized by almost all drugs (making even retroactive application possible). It is a platform technology. SiNON is dedicated to improving the lives of those who suffer from debilitating neurological diseases by increasing the ability of drugs to cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB).

Our patented nanoparticle, the Carbon Dot, will enable pharmaceutical companies to encapsulate their drugs in a way, which dramatically improves drug-localization to the brain. This allows for a reduction in overall dose administration to the patient, leading to reduced toxicity risk and side effects while improving therapeutic index and cost-efficacy. What makes our delivery mechanism so unique is that due to its amphiphilic nature it can passively diffuse across the BBB.

Considering the rapid growth of the senior population, and subsequent increase in neurological disease, we believe that our novel technology is an essential part of the overall solution to this healthcare crisis.


  • Afreen Allam, Founder and CEO
  • Dr. S. Sarkar, Chief Scientific Officer
  • Abdul Allam, Director of R&D
  • Dr. Bholanath Pakhira, Lead PhD Researcher
  • Dr. Sameer Berry, Medical Liaison
  • Suleman Sheikh, Medical Liaison


  • Funding: $675,000
  • First place winner of Duke Start-up challenge
  • Winner of Duke Angel Award
  • Completed animal toxicity studies
  • Excretion pattern studies
  • Invited to present at World Innovation & Entrepreneurship Conference in Kunshan, China


CED, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, First Flight Venture Center, SBTDC


  • What is the primary pain point you are seeking to address?

SiNON aims to be the primary pain point to finding the right fit for collaborators and partners to work with. Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier has been a challenge in many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Brain tumors just to name a few. We are focusing on neurological diseases due to the high unmet need. By localizing delivery we hope to reduce the dosage and thus side effects while increasing the drug efficacy.

  • What sets your company apart? What’s the “secret sauce”?

We would like to emphasize the fact that our technology is a platform technology unlike many of the competitors currently in the market. Due to the unique characteristics of our nanoparticle (the Carbon Dot) it has an amphiphilic structure which allows it to passively diffuse across the blood brain barrier. It also has self-fluorescing capabilities (without the use of PEG-wrappers), which can be used to track excretion and where it is in the body.

  • Why should investors be interested in your company? What is the potential market size?

Investors should be interested in SiNON as ourpatented nanoparticle is a platform technology which can be used in many different diseases and with many different drugs. We have also come up with a novel way to encapsulate more than one drug in a capsule.

According to BCC Research, BBB technology, a sub-industry of the pharmaceutical sector, amounted to $21.8 Million in 2013. The sub-industry is estimated to grow to $471.5 Million by 2019. These estimates pertain to sales of the technology through the supplier side rather than encompassing the billions in sales foreseen by the greater pharmaceutical industry in development of new/enhanced medications.

These estimates are conservative because they take into account the slow recovery of the global economy and the desire for investors to preserve capital. In 2014, there were three compounds in the clinical development pipeline using BBB technology, and this will grow to around eight by 2019. Pharmaceutical sales patterns predict 85% of BBB technology sales in 2019 will be from US sales and Europe will account for 15% or less.