Bacteria Responsive Antibiofilm Polymer Nanoparticles


Biofilm infections are common and difficult to treat. Nanoparticles that respond to multiple bacterial stimuli have the potential to successfully prevent and eradicate biofilms. We have developed a hyaluronic acid- and chitosan-coated, antibiotic-loaded gelatin nanoparticle that effectively combats bacterial biofilms.

Market Opportunity

Bacterial biofilms are clusters of bacteria embedded in self-produced matrixes of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that protect the bacteria and contribute to antimicrobial resistance. These biofilms are difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics. As biofilms mature, bacteria produce different enzymes, such as gelatinases and hyaluronidases, to modulate the biofilm EPS, allowing the bacteria to disperse and form new biofilms. Despite the emergence of responsive nanoparticles that enhance delivery of therapeutics to microbes in a biofilm, little research has been done on nanoparticles that respond to multiple bacteria stimuli to enhance antibiofilm efficacy.

Innovation and Meaningful Advantages

We have developed an antibiotic-loaded gelatin nanoparticle coated with hyaluronic acid and chitosan that effectively combats bacterial biofilms. Each layer responds to a different biofilm microenvironmental cue, to enable penetration and adherence to the EPS. Degradation of the gelatin nanoparticles by bacterial gelatinases increases antibiotic release from the nanoparticles, efficiently killing bacteria and eradicating the biofilm. So far, we have focused primarily on loading these nanoparticles with the FDA-approved antibiotic doxycycline (Doxy). We are currently developing other polymers for use in the same type of nanoparticle, to combat other bacteria.

Collaboration Opportunity

We are interested in exploring 1) startup opportunities with investors in the drug delivery space; 2) research collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies; and 3) licensing opportunities for drug delivery companies.

Principal Investigator

Anita Shukla, PhD

Associate Professor of Engineering

Brown University

IP Information

Provisional Application Filed


Wang Y, Shukla A. Bacteria-responsive biopolymer-coated nanoparticles for biofilm penetration and eradication. Biomaterials Science 2022 April 13.



Melissa Simon, PhD

Director of Business Development, Life Sciences

Brown Tech ID 3193 

Patent Information:
Drug Delivery
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
Anita Shukla
Yingying Wang
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