Why Metal Coordination?

Why Metal Coordination?

New ideas are continually emerging as we practice this art. It is important to note that all of the benefits imparted by metal coordination are derived from chemistry at the molecular level. This means that metal coordinated pharmaceuticals (MCPs) may require, at least in some cases, little to no additional formulation such as coatings or polymers.

Metal coordination is a platform technology with broad application that can be profitably applied both to already marketed drugs and to drugs under development. In a review of approximately 3,000 listed drugs, we found that over 400 had structures that allow metal coordination. Because the chemistry is relatively efficient and inexpensive to practice, we can create and gather preliminary data on compound candidates within a few months. Our ability to quickly develop preliminary data allows us to respond promptly to opportunities, to pursue multiple drug discovery programs concurrently, and to quickly identify and terminate projects that require excessive resources or are unlikely to succeed.

Metal Coordinated Pharmaceuticals (MCPs) enjoy significant regulatory advantages over other drug candidates. Because many MCPs are complexes or chelates of already approved drugs, we can often rely on existing data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of those drugs. If the attached metal – which often represents a very small portion of the resulting compound – is generally regarded as safe, its presence raises no significant regulatory issue. If the metal is seldom used in pharmaceuticals, such as bismuth, or is potentially toxic, such as copper, we would establish the absence of potentially dangerous accumulation of the metal. Our ability to rely on existing data allows us to focus our efforts on demonstrating the benefits of the MCP over the reference drug and can substantially reduce the time and money spent in clinical development.

Unlike salts, MCPs are patentable as new compositions of matter under U.S. patent laws – even if the parent drug is already well known. For example, in addition to the patent office allowing claims for the FMDD compositions, our zinc-T3 and magnesium-furosemide complexes are also patented, even though T3 and furosemide have been used for decades. The combination of expedited FDA review and patent protection should give a metal coordinated pharmaceutical an unusually long period of market exclusivity.

We intend to develop our MCPs in partnership with other pharmaceutical companies and are pursuing a two-pronged approach to drug discovery and development partnerships. We are establishing proof of concept for MCPs that are strong candidates for out-licensing or development partnerships – primarily drugs whose efficacy or usage is significantly limited by absorption of other issues addressable through metal coordination. In addition, we intend to license our chemistry to pharmaceutical companies interested in addressing delivery or targeting issues with their pipeline drugs.

Synthonics, Inc. is a privately-held specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of patentable drugs that incorporate our proprietary metal coordination chemistry. We bind metals to known pharmaceutical agents to create new products that are better absorbed and delivered and have greater therapeutic benefits than their predecessors. We patent drugs incorporating our chemistry as new compositions of matter.

Our products under development are designed to deliver best in class treatment for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and hypothyroidism.

We are headquartered in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Where will MCP be in the future?

Primary Care

From hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s to inflammatory bowel disorders and influenza, MCP’s ability to improve existing drugs will lead to wide applications. Please see our science and capabilities sections for more information.


The design of G4 binders using medical radiometals can be considered an attractive approach to explore DNA-targeted molecules in cancer theranostics. These nuclear medicine modalities have already made an enormous contribution to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the clinical onset, based on the use of appropriate radioactive compounds designated as radiopharmaceuticals (Carvalho & colleagues).

Outside of Medicine

Synthonics has developed a CBDa compound using MCP with child company Chylocure. Other applications include metallo-caffeine: a “micro-reactor” using metal impregnated biopolymers to selectively modify the absorption of caffeine from various energy drinks and related products.