News & Resources

April 20,2012

Keystone Nano and Penn State College of Medicine Awarded $1 Million for the Development of Cancer Treatment Technology        

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has awarded a $1 million PA CURE Grant to Keystone Nano and the Penn State College of Medicine to further develop an innovative, therapeutic drug delivery system called NanoJackets. 

NanoJackets, which are stable, non-toxic particles, contain be loaded with small “interfering” ribonucleic acids (siRNA) that effectively deliver RNA to select cancer-causing mutated cells. NanoJackets effectively target and concentrate just at the tumor site, significantly diminishing the side effects for the patient. The goal of this project is to develop new therapies for cancer by preparing an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA for a novel product for the treatment of advanced cancers.  Keystone Nano has been developing NanoJacket technology for the past six years.

Jeff Davidson, CEO of Keystone Nano, commented, “The American Cancer Society estimates that over 1.6 million patients will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and over 575,000 will die of the disease this year. Improving the effectiveness of cancer therapies by employing the use of nanotechnology can save lives and improve the patient’s quality of life both during and after therapy. We are seeking to move this promising technology promptly from the research bench to the clinic, and we appreciate the support of the Department of Health.”

Keystone Nano originally developed siRNA NanoJackets under a Phase I NCI SBIR contract and is currently optimizing formulations for preclinical testing.  The company has also received significant support from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Nanomaterials Commercialization Center, the Nanotechnology Institute, and from select corporate partners.

The project will be led by principal investigator Dr. Mark Kester, Passananti Professor of Pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine as well as Chief Medical Officer at Keystone Nano, Dr. Mylisa Parette, Research Manager at Keystone Nano and Dr. James Adair, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University as well as Chief Science Officer of Keystone Nano.

Based in State College, Keystone Nano is working at the interface between nanotechnology and the life sciences and has licensed intellectual property around nanoparticles from Penn State University.  The company is working to commercialize NanoJacket products for a variety of medical applications.


June 14, 2011

Keystone Nano Receives Grant Award from the PA NanoMaterials Commercialization Center

The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center has awarded Keystone Nano a grant to support the preclinical development of the Ceramide NanoLiposome. 

The Ceramide NanoLiposome is being developed by Keystone Nano for evaluation as an improved therapeutic for Hepatocellular Carcinoma, also known as Liver Cancer. Liver Cancer is diagnosed in almost 750,000 people per year and is highly deadly with a 5 year survival rate of less than 2% when detected in the commonly diagnosed advanced state. The Ceramide NanoLiposome has demonstrated impressive efficacy in xenograft models of human liver cancer with no detectable toxicity. Keystone Nano plans to complete preclinical testing to enable regulatory review of the Ceramide NanoLiposome for initial clinical trials for Liver Cancer.

October 8, 2010

Keystone Nano Awarded a SBIR Contract from the National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) an Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to Keystone Nano to develop nanoparticles containing both diagnostic and therapeutic compounds to enhance the treatment of cancer. This is the second SBIR award from the NCI to support the development of Keystone Nano’s NanoJacket technology.

NanoJackets are small (30nm), colloidally stable, bioresorbable and can encapsulate various chemical compounds inside the nanoparticle. Keystone Nano has encapsulated a variety of compounds, including fluorescent molecules and chemotherapeutic drugs, within NanoJackets. Biological testing of prototypes indicates that NanoJackets both protect and enhance the effectiveness of encapsulated compounds by delivering them directly to desired locations, such as tumor sites. The nanoparticles developed with this contract will contain an imaging agent as well as a therapeutic compound. The encapsulation of both compounds within each NanoJacket will allow the simultaneous imaging and treatment of tumors, giving physicians the ability to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment in real time.

Jeff Davidson, CEO of Keystone Nano notes “Keystone Nano looks forward to further developing the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of NanoJackets with the support of the NCI”.

The American Cancer Society estimates that over 1.5 million patients will be diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and over 550,000 will die of the disease this year. Improving the effectiveness of cancer therapies by employing sensible nanotechnology can save lives and improve the patient’s quality of life both during and after therapy.

Dr. Mylisa Parette, author of the grant and principal investigator, will lead the research and development efforts associated with this project, supported by KN’s development team in State College and Hershey.

Keystone Nano is based in State College, Pennsylvania working at the interface between nanotechnology and the life sciences. Keystone Nano has licensed intellectual property around nanoparticles from Penn State University. The company is working to commercialize NanoJacket products for a variety of medical and industrial applications.

June 1, 2010

Keystone Nano opens its second laboratory to support for NanoJacket and NanoLiposome development.

Keystone Nano is announcing the opening of their second laboratory facility to support the development of NanoJacket and NanoLiposome products. The new laboratory, named Keystone Nano South, is located in the Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) in Hummelstown, Pa and will provide biological testing for NanoJacket and NanoLiposome prototypes. Jeff Davidson, CEO of Keystone Nano, notes “We are excited to be expanding and opening our second laboratory. HCAR is an ideal home for Keystone Nano South, providing excellent access to resources at the Penn State College of Medicine.”

Jocelyn Bassler has been hired by Keystone Nano as a Biological Researcher to lead laboratory operations at Keystone Nano South.

September 28, 2009

Keystone Nano is awarded a NCI SBIR Phase I grant to support the development of targeted Doxorubicin NanoJackets for breast cancer treatment.

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Keystone Nano a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop nanoparticle targeting as a way to improve the treatment of cancer. Dr. Mylisa Parette, Keystone’s Research Manager, observed: “We plan to use this grant to develop techniques to target very small nano packages of cancer drugs to cancerous tumors –the same way zip codes are used to direct mail on a journey.”

Dr. Mark Kester, the Passanatti Professor of Pharmacology at Hershey Medical Center and Keystone’s Chief Medical Officer emphasizes “Most current cancer therapies are untargeted and have little selectivity for cancerous tissue. As a result these drugs often cause side effects during treatment. We hope to dramatically decrease the negative impact of cancer therapy.

The American Cancer Society estimated that over 1.4 million patients were diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and many of those were treated with chemotherapeutics. Improving therapies by employing sensible nanotechnology can save lives and improve the patient’s quality of life both during and after therapy.

Keystone Nano’s NanoJacket delivery system is distinct from other nano approaches in that NanoJackets are made of biologically compatible materials (calcium and phosphate), and are exceptionally small, versatile and protective.

Dr. Parette, principal investigator and author of the grant, will lead the research and development effort associated with this project.

Keystone Nano is based in State College, Pennsylvania working at the interface between nanotechnology and the life sciences. Keystone Nano has licensed intellectual property around nanoparticles from Penn State University. The company is working to commercialize NanoJacketed products – or nano-enhanced products.

March 5, 2009

Keystone Nano is named  “Outstanding Technology Company of the Year” at the Center for Business and Industry Centre County awards gala.

July 7, 2008

Keystone Nano is awarded a NanoApplications Fund grant from the Nanotechnology Institute of Pennsylvania

Keystone Nano has been awarded a Nano Applications Fund (NAF) grant from the Nanotechnology Institute of Pennsylvania to support the development of chemotherapeutic NanoJackets for improved breast cancer treatment. This project involves initial prototype development to encapsulate an FDA-approved chemotherapeutic drug within NanoJackets. Dr. Mylisa Parette, principal investigator for this project, comments “We would like to thank the Nanotechnology Institute for their support and hope to bring NanoJacketed chemotherapeutics to the market for improved breast cancer treatment.”

July 25, 2007

Keystone Nano  and  Nalco Announce Joint Nanotechnology Development Venture

Keystone Nano, a nanotechnology development company in State College and Nalco Company (NYSE:NLC), the leading global provider of integrated water treatment and process improvement services, chemicals and equipment programs for industrial and institutional applications, announced the formation of a joint venture company, NanoSpecialties, LLC. The new company will create new products with nano-features for industrial markets.

The venture will conduct research and development of nanotechnology that allows for more precise application of various Nalco water and process treatments.

Keystone Nano has licensed two Penn State University patent applications that protect the creation of NanoJackets™, particles with a diameter of about 40 nanometers. The technology was developed through collaborative efforts between Professor James Adair’s research group in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute and Passanati Distinguished Professor Mark Kester’s research group at the Hershey Medical Center. The NanoJackets can be customized to contain specialty chemicals within an exceptionally small, effective, and safe delivery system.

These customized NanoJackets will allow:

  • Improved time-release of the treatment agents

  • Precise targeting of the treatments at the molecular level to focus the effects, and

  • More stable treatment agents within an engineered nanoscale package

Jeff Davidson, Keystone Nano’s CEO notes that “Combining the development and marketing strengths of Nalco with Keystone’s nanotechnology capabilities allows us to create some very exciting new products for industrial customers. We are looking forward to commercializing a range of NanoJacket applications with Nalco.”

“This effort with Keystone Nano will develop cutting-edge means to better deliver Nalco’s world-class chemistries in a variety of applications. Using nanotechnology will further improve the effectiveness of our treatment programs while reducing the amount of chemical used to achieve those results,” said Nalco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. William H. Joyce.

Keystone Nano is currently using NanoJackets to create new medical therapeutics with decreased toxicity and dosage levels. The company is also creating new research and diagnostic imaging applications featuring stable, versatile nano-imaging products.

Nalco has a long history of work in nanotechnology dating to the 1950s and the development of colloidal silicas. Recent innovations such as Core Shell® polymers, modified at the molecular level for use in wastewater treatment and as process aids in papermaking, petroleum refining, mining and food and beverage processing, continue this commitment to innovation. 

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials at the molecular level to achieve specific results. The term derives from nanometer, a metric unit of measure equal to one billionth of a meter

About Keystone Nano
Keystone Nano is a development stage company based in State College, Pennsylvania working at the interface between nanotechnology and the life sciences. More information is available on the company at or by calling 814-466-5080.

About Nalco
Nalco serves more than 70,000 customer locations representing a broad range of end markets. It has established a global presence with more than 11,000 employees operating in 130 countries supported by a comprehensive network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices and research centers. In 2006, Nalco achieved sales of more than $3.6 billion. For more information visit

This news release includes forward-looking statements, reflecting current analysis and expectations, based on what are believed to be reasonable assumptions. Forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results to differ materially from those projected, stated or implied, depending on many factors, including, without limitation: ability to generate cash, ability to raise capital, ability to refinance, the result of the pursuit of strategic alternatives, ability to execute work process redesign and reduce costs, ability to execute price increases, business climate, business performance, economic and competitive uncertainties, higher manufacturing costs, reduced level of customer orders, changes in strategies, risks in developing new products and technologies, environmental and safety regulations and clean-up costs, foreign exchange rates, the impact of changes in the regulation or  value of pension fund assets and liabilities, changes in generally accepted accounting principles, adverse legal and regulatory developments, including increases in the number or financial exposures of claims, lawsuits, settlements or judgments, or the inability to eliminate or reduce such financial exposures by collecting indemnity payments from insurers, the impact of increased accruals and reserves for such exposures, weather-related factors, and adverse changes in economic and political climates around the world, including terrorism and international hostilities, and other risk factors identified by the Company. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the Company will meet future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. This paragraph is included to provide safe harbor for forward-looking statements, which are not generally required to be publicly revised as circumstances change, and which the Company does not intend to update.

November 2006 Yellow Cakes

Connecting the Dots Keystone Nano Targets Cancer Treatment by Judith Sen

What do you do if you have a great technology in search of a product? If you are Jeff Davidson, CEO of Keystone Nano in Boalsburg , Pennsylvania , you head off to BIO. BIO is an international biotechnology convention organized by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. “I attended the last two conventions,” said Davidson, “BIO is a great place for finding partners.” Keystone Nano has entered into partnerships with two corporate partners and is also working with three other companies interested in developing applications for the company's Molecular Dot technology...

Keystone Nano Named International Winner of The Second Annual International Nanotechnology Business Idea Competition

Company is developing Molecular Dots for Improved Disease Imaging and Drug Delivery

CLEVELAND, October 21, 2005 - Keystone Nano won the International Award of $75,000 in the second annual International and North Coast Nanotechnology Business Idea Competitions held on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. A panel of judges featuring representatives of venture capital firms, corporations and nanotechnology researchers selected Keystone Nano as the International winner.

Keystone Nano is building its company around technology developed at Penn State University and at the Hershey Medical Center. "We'll leverage this award to speed the development of the company", said Jeff Davidson, chief executive officer of Keystone Nano. "The science is outstanding - as it allows the creation of trillions of distinct tiny drug containing Molecular Dots - now we want to build an outstanding business that uses these dots to improve human health."

"Winning the International Nanotechnology Business Idea Competition provides important validation for its technology and business team," said Mark Kester, chief medical officer for Keystone Nano. Dr. Kester is also a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. "We've got some momentum now and we're going to take advantage of it," Dr. Kester said.

The company has developed Molecular Dots that are 10 nanometers to 80 nanometers particles that can deliver either therapeutic drugs or imaging solutions inside a patient's body. The Molecular Dots are so tiny that they don't prompt a response from the body's immune system and can work more effectively than other internal drug delivery or imaging systems.

In the imaging area the company is working to use these MDs to more precisely image cancerous tumors earlier in the cancer development process. The goal of this early imaging is to identify cancers when they are smaller and before they have spread to other organs. Identifying cancer earlier helps improve treatment options. If Keystone Nano's imaging is successful it should result in fewer cancer deaths and more modest surgical or drug therapy interventions.

Keystone Nano's molecular dots are designed to improve the delivery of drugs that are not water soluble, or that have physical characteristics that make them difficult to deliver. These reluctant drugs can be dispatched in a miniaturized trucking force of 1,000 trillion Molecular Dots that will deliver the drugs to remote regions of the human body. The drugs delivered will improve drug therapy for patients being treated for a variety of cancers or cardiovascular diseases.

Organizers of the Nanotechnology competition include three Case Western Reserve University programs and NorTech's Nano-Network. Sponsors include ASM International, Nanofilm, Ferro Corp., Case, Forest City Enterprises, The Partnerships for Innovation Program of the National Science Foundation and the Joseph P. & Nancy F. Keithley Foundation.

Last year's top winner of the competition, QD Vision of Watertown, Mass., recently raised at least $6 million in venture capital in a venture round financed by Highland Capital Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, and OI Ventures. Gary Wnek, co-director of TiME at Case Western Reserve University remarked "I wouldn't be surprised at all if a few of our finalists today are able to attract venture capital in the near future."

Recent Media Coverage

October 25, 2005 - Centre Daily Times - Company wins big prize for small work

October 22, 2005 - Nanotechnology Now - Nanotechnology Business Idea Competition Winners Announced

October 21, 2005 - NANOVIP - $150,000 in Nano Competitions Awarded

October 21, 2005 - Crain's Cleveland Business - Big Prize for Small Work

October 21, 2005 - Case Western - Nanotechnology Business Idea Competition Winners Announced