Robust, Stable and ‘Smart’ Microstructure Drug Delivery for Controlled Release (Case 2035)

Principal Investigator:


Edith Mathiowitz, PhD, Professor

Department of Bio Med Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology                        

Brown University

Providence, RI


Brief Description:


Advances in polymer and drug delivery sciences have led to the evolution of engineered fibers for use as drug delivery vehicles; the design of pharmacologically active fibers has increased.   Drug eluting fibers have the potential to be woven into biotextiles for the release of a multitude of therapeutics with micron-scale accuracy.  Techniques exist to make polymer fibers, but only a small subset is suitable for drug encapsulation with wet spinning as one such amenable technique.  Wet spinning has many advantages such as it can be done at ambient temperatures, used with water-soluble drugs and a broad range of bioactive agents, and it is most similar to microsphere encapsulation techniques.  Moreover, wet spun fibers have a high surface area to volume ratio for mass transfer and efficient drug release. 


Therapeutic delivery performance has been significantly better than current bolus delivery strategies.  However, little is know about the effects of drug incorporation on the mechanical integrity of the fibers.  Rapid drug ‘burst’ from microfibers is a limitation.  Prior research has attempted to create double-walled microspheres to address ‘burst’ and control drug release.  However, this work has been inconclusive.  There remains an urgent need for ‘smart’ fiber delivery systems that are multi-functional, and provide both physical and pharmaceutical support.


This invention is a novel method to prepare and use a multi-layer, polymeric microstructure ‘smart’ delivery system for controlled release of therapeutics.  This stable delivery system can be physically manipulated/easily shaped, and delivers controlled release of therapeutics while maintaining mechanical strength.  The innovation may be in the form of a fiber, suture, sphere, implant or scaffold.  It may be used with any drug/agent type (protein, small molecule, hydrophobic/philic), and administered by any route (oral, transdermal, etc.) and in any formulation with conventional pharmaceutical excipients.


The market niches are medical instruments and devices, pharmaceutical drug delivery and/or therapeutics, and scientific R&D.  Applications include use in medicine for production of surgical sutures, dialysis devices, therapeutic implants, wound dressings, and tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds for regenerative medicine, as well as in scientific R&D laboratories that investigate and advance these fields.




US patent 9,238,011 is issued (01/19/2016)

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Margaret Shabashevich,
Manager of Operations
Office of Industry Engagement & Commercial Venturing
Brown University
Edith Mathiowitz
Richard Hopkins
Danya Lavin (formerly Decoteau)
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