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Illinois’ AuraSense garners $2.5M investment for nanotechnology-based therapy

A Northwestern University start-up has received a $2.5 million investment to commercialize technology that employs gold nanoparticles to help treat cardiovascular disease.

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WILMETTE, Illinois — A Northwestern University start-up has received a $2.5 million investment to commercialize technology that employs gold nanoparticles to help treat cardiovascular disease.

AuraSense LLC, founded by nanotechnology superstar and Northwestern Professor Chad Mirkin, is developing a technology that uses gold nanoparticles to sweep cholesterol out of a patient’s bloodstream, reducing the chances of heart attack or stroke.

Researchers use gold and other metals as the basis of the artificial particles so they show up in medical imaging, according to a New York Times article.  The artificial particles are designed to work like high-density lipoproteins, also known as “good cholesterol,” which can help protect the body from heart disease.

Mirkin is billed by Northwestern as the “most cited” chemist in the world and is a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology. In June, he was awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize, which recognizes scientific innovation.

Mirkin is best known for inventing the nanoparticle-based medical diagnostic assays underlying the Verigene system and Dip-Pen Nanolithography, an ultra-high-resolution molecule-based printing technique, according to Northwestern.

AuraSense has not previously reported any fund-raising to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mirkin didn’t return a call.

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