Francis Szoka, PhD
- Professor, School of Pharmacy
The Szoka group applies chemical, biophysical and molecular biology approaches to devise vaccine, drug and nucleic acid delivery systems to treat cancer or infectious diseases. These systems can incorporate lipids, peptides, polymers and proteins. These drug carriers are composed of lipids, polymers, peptides or proteins. His group has extensively investigated the role of lipids in membrane fusion and his designed, synthesized and studied the mechanism of fusogenic peptides. With group members, he has published over 195 manuscripts and has received 26 U.S. patents. One FDA approved drug product Amphotec™ and one biotechnology product Superfect™ have been commercialized from the patents. In addition to his University commitments, Dr. Szoka is a founder of Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. owned by Johnson & Johnson and GeneMedicine, inc. now known as Valentis, Inc. Sequus introduced sterically stabilized liposomes for anti-cancer drug delivery (Doxil™).