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Jul 23, 2019

Hydrogels: Injectable Depot-Systems

Life Sciences, Drug Delivery

  • Gelatinize by a dual mechanism based on Diels-Alder reaction and physical crosslinking
  • Stability and stiffness can be adjusted to therapeutic need
  • Hydrogels are stable, in situ forming, non-toxic and particularly suitable for controlled drug release

Your contact

Dr. Katharina Stoiber

+49 (0) 89 5480177 - 40
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Hydrogels are particularly suitable as drug delivery and drug depot systems. They are composed of polymers, which cross-link through physical or chemical reactions. Physical ­cross-linking systems enable the preparation of in situ forming gels, which can be ­administered in liquid form and gelatinize after injection. However, this hydrogels are so far considered not to be stable enough for medicinal applications. For chemical crosslinking of hydrogels the Diels-­Alder reaction was described to be particularly suitable, however, here the very slow crosslinking is a major drawback.


As a novel approach here degradable hydrogels were generated that gelatinize by a dual ­mechanism based on a Diels-Alder reaction and physical cross-linking. ­Therefore ­thermoresponsive end-functionalized four- and eight-armed macromonomers were ­designed. The novel hydrogels are stable, in situ forming and particularly suitable for ­controlled release of e.g. therapeutic antibodies. Furthermore by varying the composition of the ­macromonomers physical properties like gel stability and stiffness can be varied and adapted to the ­therapeutic need.


  • highly stable
  • the stability and stiffness can be adjusted to the therapeutic need
  • systems are degrabable in water
  • hydrogels gelate at body temperature
  • gels are non toxic

Commercial Opportunities

The novel hydrogels are an optimal drug delivery and depot system for controlled release of therapeutic substances and offer major advantages in comparison with the available systems so far. Here the drawbacks of the hydrogels generated by solely chemical or physical-crosslinking were avoided while the advantages of both were utilized, generating a highly flexible and customer oriented system.

Development Status

Proof of concept.


  • M. Gregoritza , V. Messmann , K. Abstiens , F.P. Brandl and A. M. Goepferich ; Biomacromolecules. 2017 Jul 6

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