Announcing a New Open Syndicate for Otomagnetics

angelMD is pleased to announce that we are opening a syndicate for investment in Otomagnetics, a startup developing an innovative, non-invasive magnetic delivery system for drugs and other therapeutic payloads. If you’re interested in learning more about Otomagnetics, please visit our info form to request more information.


Otomagnetics is a spin-out startup from the University of Maryland at College Park. Their team has developed a magnetic field-generating small device that works with proprietary nano-particle formulation to carry drugs, proteins, or genes. The effect of the localized magnetic field on the nano-particles allows therapeutics to be carried across tissue barriers, and allows delivery to hard-to-reach targets in the body that would otherwise require needles or surgery.

angelMD had a chance to talk to Otomagnetics’ CEO, Dr. Benjamin Shapiro, and learn more about their important work. We hope you enjoy this conversation. If you would like to know more about this innovative angelMD company, please click on this link to be included in exclusive communications.

1. How did you develop the idea to use magnets and magnetized particles as a drug delivery platform?

We got a phone call from an otolaryngology group that was interested in effective but non-invasive drug delivery to the cochlea. This group had found us based on our work in magnetic drug delivery. They were envisioning a large and complex magnetic instrument that would pull particles into the cochlea from the opposite side of the head. Instead, we were able to design a device that pushed (injected) instead of pulled, which allowed the device to be small, simple, and effective. The device was patented, built, and tested first in the lab, and then in animals (and now also in human cadavers). Hence we started as an ear company to fill an unmet drug delivery need.

The same novel magnetic push concept (till then, all other magnetic delivery systems could only pull) has also shown it can deliver therapy into the eye and through the skin, without needles. The system is therefore now also being developed for vision and dermatology.

2. Do you consider Otomagnetics a device or pharma company?

We consider Otomagnetics a biotech company. We have a platform technology. Our delivery system acts like a syringe, but the needle has been replaced by magnetic forces acting on bio-compatible nano-particles that can carry drugs, proteins, or gene therapy. We can reach targets that cannot be reached by current standards-of-care, or that would otherwise require an invasive surgery to reach.

3. Your first target customer is prevention and treatment of sudden hearing loss. How does your approach improve on current therapies?

Current administration methods do not effectively reach the cochlea, and therefore do not treat sudden hearing loss effectively. For oral administration, less than 1 out of 10,000,000 drug molecules reach the cochlea; for trans-tympanic administration, the number is less than 1 out of 40,000 [Juhn, 2001; Inamura & Salt, 1992; Bird, 2007].

We deliver therapy 1,000x more efficiently to the cochlea and have shown we can restore hearing, suppress tinnitus, and prevent hearing loss due to chemotherapy regimens in recognized animal models.

4. What other applications are there for your therapeutic delivery system and what advantages will you offer in those markets?

In addition to treating the cochlea, we can magnetically deliver into the middle ear without needles or surgery. In animal studies, we have shown we can clear middle ear infections. (Chronic and recurrent middle ear infections/inflammations are currently treated by surgical insertion of tubes through the ear drum, the most common pediatric surgery in the US.) For macular degeneration and other eye conditions, we can delivery therapy without needle insertions into the eye.

Animal studies have also shown magnetic forces can deliver therapy through the skin, which enables improved drug delivery to burns, wounds, or diabetic ulcers.

Otomagnetics Magnetic Injection Technology

Learn about Otomagnetics' innovative magnetic injection technology.

5. What third-party validation have you received from the scientific community?

The technology was developed in response to a clinical need articulated by otolaryngologists, a need that is well recognized in the field. Clinicians at Johns Hopkins, Children’s National Medical Center, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, and the University of Nottingham have reached out to us, and have initiated projects with our group. In England, the Action of Hearing Loss supports and has helped fund our research and efforts.

6. What interest in Otomagnetics have you had from industry?

Angel investors at Keiretsu envision Otomagnetics as a Star Trek technology, a technology of the future. They are currently in the due-diligence phase and we expect them to conclude their process in next few months. Two pharmaceutical companies are already interested in our magnetic delivery because they recognize it could enable them to deliver their therapeutic compounds safely and effectively to new targets, and we are in discussions with additional companies.

7. How do you think syndicating an investment with AngelMD will benefit Otomagnetics?

Our interest in AngelMD is the access to clinical expertise that it will provide. We started as a company that was motivated by a clinical need in otolaryngology (we were not a technological hammer looking for nails, instead we developed the magnetic injection technology to address a pressing and unmet need). Now that the system has also shown utility for delivering therapy magnetically into eyes and through the skin, without needles or surgery, we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with clinicians to expand our technology to additional applications and clinical needs.

8. Tell us about your team and their unique capability in this specific field?

Dr. Benjamin Shapiro, PhD, CEO is an expert in magnetic drug targeting, nano-therapy, lab-on-chip/microfluidics. He is a Fulbright scholar, the inventor of the magnetic injection technology, and is currently responsible for the operations for Otomagnetics. He has helped raise over $6M in non-dilutive grant funding for the effort thus far.

Mr. Ting Pau Oei, MBA, Chairman of the Board, has extensive operating and investing experience in the healthcare industry. He has been a venture capital partner in both a corporate strategic venture capital firm and in an independent venture capital partnership. He was a Vice President of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, J&J’s venture capital arm. He has invested in over 50 life sciences, medical device and healthcare information technology companies and served on the board of over 25 of these portfolio companies.

Ms. Abhita Batra, MS, MBA, Chief Business Officer, is the Founder and Managing Director of Advanced Biopharma Consulting (ABC), a strategic advisory firm that offers business development and commercialization services to life science companies. She is co-owner of Admac Group of Companies, wherein she managed a product portfolio encompassing 150 generics. She is a co-founder and former COO of Navya, a biotechnology company developing and commercializing PHF for destruction of solid tumors. Abhita completed her Global MBA at UCLA Anderson and NUS, and has a Masters in Biotechnology with specialization in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Pennsylvania.

We have expert regulatory advisors, including a former FDA Branch Chief and a former Vice President of R&D at AMAG Pharmaceuticals who previously took two iron-oxide (magnetic) nano-particles through FDA regulatory approval and to market for millions of patients.

9. What are your key company goals for the next 12 months?

Complete FDA-mandated large and small animal safety studies to enable entry into human clinical trials.


angelMD is pleased to announce a new syndicate for investment in Otomagnetics. If you are considering joining this exciting angelMD syndicate, please visit this link to request more information.

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