Oral administration of therapeutics, including biologics, into the lymphatic system

Milk Exosomes Technology

Our milk exosome-based technology is uniquely designed to facilitate the oral administration of complex payloads such as nucleic acids, proteins, peptides, and small molecules. These exosomes are believed to traffic via lymphatic circulation and could potentially enable the targeting of immune cells in ways not technically feasible before.

There is significant body of published data underscoring the potential application of exosomes from a therapeutic delivery and physiological modulation perspective. Our internal work builds on these published findings and has generated a significant amount of unpublished data that will be shared in the appropriate scientific forum.


  • Patient Need & Market Potential
    • Biologics, such as proteins, peptides and antibodies, are the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical business
    • Nucleic acid-based therapies, such as RNAi, antisense and mRNA, represent the next big wave of biologics. Yet despite decades of efforts, almost all biologics are still administered via intravenous or subcutaneous routes
    • Oral administration of biologics has remained elusive. Some of the challenges for oral administration of biologics include low permeability of epithelial cells lining the GI tract, low drug stability in the harsh stomach environment which result in significant enzymatic and pH-dependent degradation of biologics in the stomach and intestine
    • None of the current drug administration approaches harness natural trafficking systems within the body to transport biologics through the GI tract and into systemic circulation
    • Due to trafficking and safety limitations, the application of biologics such as nucleic acids as a treatment modality is currently limited to a very small number of specific tissues or organs, such as the liver, and to specific modalities, such as mRNA vaccines¬†
    • Exosomes play a critical physiologic role in intercellular communication and the transport of macromolecules between cells and tissues. Mammalian-derived exosomes have attractive potential as vehicles for the administration of a variety of drug payloads, especially nucleic acids, since their natural composition will likely provide superior tolerability over the variety of synthetic polymers currently in use
    • Most sources of mammalian exosomes are, however, not suitable or viable as vehicles for oral administration of drugs due to their lack of stability under the harsh physiologic conditions associated with transit through the stomach and small intestine
    • Nature has devised a solution to this problem: exosomes abundantly present in milk have evolved to be versatile vesicles to transport complex molecules through the harsh environment of the stomach and GI tract
  • Our Approach to Solving the Problem
    • Milk-derived exosomes that form the basis for PureTech's internally-developed technology have evolved naturally and specifically to accomplish the task of oral transport of complex biological molecules
    • Nature has designed safe, systemically distributable packets of information for communication using exosomes, small vesicles secreted by most mammalian cells and contain mixtures of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids
    • Milk-derived exosomes represent a mechanism designed by nature to enable transmission of messages (proteins, nucleic acids, small molecules) specifically through the oral route to systemic circulation and key tissues
    • Our approach harnesses milk-derived exosome trafficking for oral administration of biologics, including nucleic acids, peptides and proteins, to different parts of the body beyond the liver. Key sites beyond the liver that can potentially be targeted by this technology include the GI system, kidneys, lungs, immune cells, cardiac tissues, and lymph nodes
    • We believe that harnessing the underlying biology of milk-derived exosomes can be disruptive and potentially enable us to treat serious diseases, such as autoimmune, inflammatory disorders, cancer, diabetes, liver diseases, cardiac diseases, and lung disorders in previously unachievable ways by enabling the safe oral administration of complex, biologic payloads
  • Collaborations
    • Our Milk Exosomes technology is based on the research of Ramesh Gupta, Ph.D., Professor and Agnes Brown Duggan Chair in Oncological Research, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, and Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville

There is significant body of published data underscoring the potential application of exosomes from a therapeutic delivery and physiological modulation perspective. Our internal work builds on these published findings and has generated a significant amount of unpublished data that will be shared in the appropriate scientific forum.


Harnessing Milk Exosomes for Oral Administration of Nucleic Acids and Other Biologics