𝜷‐Lactamase-Responsive Degradable Hydrogels


Antibiotic-resistance poses a serious public health problem. We have developed a hydrogel (hydrated polymer network) that is sensitive to β-lactamases, a class of enzymes released by a variety of harmful bacteria. In the presence of β-lactamases, the hydrogel degrades, releasing the therapeutic agent it contains.

Market Opportunity

The emergence and rapid spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has caused serious public health and environmental issues worldwide. The growing use of βlactam antibiotics in particular, has led to the rapid development of βlactam resistance. βlactamases (βLs), a class of enzymes released by a variety of antibiotics, including penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams, and carbapenems, are the most common cause of resistance to these antibiotics. When βLs hydrolyze the βlactam ring, the antibiotic is deactivated.

Innovation and Meaningful Advantages

To limit unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, reduce associated toxicities, and potentially reduce bacterial antibiotic resistance, we have developed hydrogels that degrade in the presence of βLs, releasing antibiotic agents. These hydrogels can be used to develop biomaterials with ondemand, bacteria-triggered release of antibiotics and/or for detection of βLs. Because the hydrogels detect the presence of bacteria, they release encapsulated antibacterial agents from prophylactic biomaterials, such as bandages, only in the presence of an infection, limiting unnecessary exposure to antibiotics. This controlled, ondemand release has advantages over materials that are not loaded with antibacterial agents or that release loaded agents in an uncontrolled manner, contributing to unnecessary toxicity and to antibiotic resistance.

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

US Utility Filed, Priority Date October 28, 2019


Alkekhia D, LaRose C, Shukla A. β-Lactamase-Responsive Hydrogel Drug Delivery Platform for Bacteria-Triggered Cargo Release. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022 June 8;14(24):27538–27550. doi.org/10.1021/acsami.2c02614 



Melissa Simon, PhD

Director of Business Development, Life Sciences


Brown Tech ID 3032

Patent Information:
Drug Delivery
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
Anita Shukla
Dahlia Alkekhia
Chao Yu
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