Dendrimer Drug Delivery (DEP®)

Starpharma’s dendrimers can be used to enhance the properties of other drugs. The approach is known as “drug delivery” because it is about working to ensure that the drug is delivered to the right part of the body at the right time. Starpharma's dendrimer drug delivery technology is known as DEP®.

Starpharma uses DEP® both in its own drug development pipeline and with partners. The most advanced DEP® product in Starpharma's pipeline is DEP® docetaxel which is in Phase 2 clinical trials.

More information on DEP® docetaxel is available here.


Benefits of DEP® dendrimer drug delivery include:

Improving Efficacy
Animal studies showed that DEP® docetaxel was significantly more efficacious than docetaxel in a breast cancer model.  The improved efficacy is understood to be due to a longer circulating half-life, extended release of the docetaxel and targeting of the dendrimer-docetaxel construct to the tumour tissue.

Reducing toxic side effects of drugs 
Conversely dendrimers can be used to restrict the circulation of the drug in the body. This may avoid side effects, or may allow a higher dose of the drug to be administered than would otherwise be acceptable.

Extending the duration of activity of the drug in the body
Dendrimers can protect drugs from degradation and clearance. This may mean that an improved dosing regimen can be pursued, for example, replacing a daily infusion with a once weekly injection.

Targeting drugs to Organs, Tissues or Molecular Receptors 
Dendrimers have been used to actively or passively target a drug to particular destination in the body.

Increasing Solubility
By joining the drug to a dendrimer construct, very large increases in drug solubility have been achieved, which can enhance the “bioavailability” of the drug.It can also avoid the need for the use of problematic and potentially dangerous additives in drug formulations, helping to improve the safety profile of the active.


Starpharma has applied this technology in its own development programs (such as DEP® docetaxel) and in partnership with pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca and a number of other undisclosed partners . The technology has applicability for many different diseases.


Download DEP® Drug Delivery Summary ( pdf file, 1007kb) or Contact Us for further information.