WARF: P140235US02

Lipid-Free Emulsions for Delivering Anesthesia, Other Hydrophobic Drugs


Sandro Mecozzi, Robert Pearce

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method for formulating nanoemulsions that do not contain vegetable oil and are not susceptible to bacterial/fungal contamination.
OVERVIEWEmulsions containing soybean oil have been used intravenously for more than 40 years. Recently they have been employed in the delivery of certain hydrophobic drugs such as anti-inflammatory agents and anesthetics like propofol (i.e., Diprivan).

Propofol is used extensively to induce and maintain general anesthesia as well as for sedation purposes. However, the oil used in the emulsion is highly susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth. To combat contamination, tubing and open vials of propofol must be replaced every 12 hours. The current formulation also may cause pain, lipid intolerance and other serious complications in some patients.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed non-lipid nanoemulsions for delivering propofol and other hydrophobic compounds. The formulations contain miniscule droplets of semifluorinated block copolymers and phospholipid surfactants, and are highly stable without the need for conventional lipid components like soybean oil.

The ingredients can be adjusted to (i) enhance stability, (ii) accelerate or slow drug release rates and (iii) increase shelf life.
  • Nanoemulsions for formulating, delivering and releasing hydrophobic drugs including propofol
  • Lipid-free
  • Solves the problem of bacterial/fungal contamination
  • Highly versatile
  • Supports controlled drug release
  • Nanoemulsions are intrinsically more stable and absorbable in vivo.
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe new emulsions have been tested in animals.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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UW–Madison has the integrative capabilities to complete many key components of the drug development cycle, from discovery through clinical trials. As one of the top research universities in the world, and one of the two best-funded universities for research in the country, UW–Madison offers state-of-the-art facilities unmatched by most public universities.

These include the Small Molecule Screening Facility at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station, which provides consulting and laboratory services for developing formulations and studying solubility, stability and more; the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility; the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, which provides UW–Madison with a complete translational research facility; and the innovative, interdisciplinary Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, home to the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and its public twin, WID, part of the university's graduate school. The highly qualified experts at these facilities are ready to work with you to create a library of candidates for drug development.