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High diluted nanostructured lipid hydrogels with no gelling agents

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Partner keyword: 
Medical Research
Pharmaceutical Products / Drugs
Biochemistry / Biophysics
Drug delivery and other equipment
Health and beauty aids
Research and experimental development on biotechnology


A Spanish research institution has developed a lipid gel composed exclusively of combination of lipids in high diluted conditions, without the need of gelling surfactants or polymers, thus avoiding irritation or adverse responses in medical applications. Its composition enhances biocompatibility and favours drug delivery, especially at topical, mucosal and ocular levels. Companies interested in patent licensing and research collaboration for the development of its applications are sought.



Phospholipids and fatty acids are the main building blocks of biological membranes and present a great number of biological applications. Currently, in the fields of cosmetics, dermatology and pharmacy, a growing interest exists in the development of hydrogels that mimic and respect biological systems. In this sense, hydrogels formed by lipids may offer numerous competitive advantages. However, the available lipid hydrogels are only formed either at very high lipid concentrations (> 50%) or in diluted conditions in which the system requires the presence of surfactants or gelling agents. These conditions often induce problems of biocompatibility and sensitization.
Presented here is a new nanostructured lipid gel formed by intercalated vesicles and extended lamellae. It is constituted exclusively by combination of phospholipids and fatty acids (3-10%) with a very high content of water present (97-93%).
The composition, exclusively made of lipids, ensures high biocompatibility and its rheological behaviour enables its use in medical applications, especially at topical, mucosal and ocular level.
Ex-vivo studies, using porcine skin, have been carried out to corroborate permeation of actives through the skin and follicles and its wound healing effect. This gel has also been proved to be non-irritating in ocular formulations.
The research group, with a broad experience in lipid systems for drug delivery and skin treatment, is searching for pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies interested in the use of these hydrogels. Companies should carry out, either by themselves or through research collaboration with our organization, studies to develop specific applications adapted to their interests.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
• Gel consistency is possible without the use of gelling agents. • The exclusively lipid composition ensures a very high biocompatibility and avoids sensitization and potential side effects. • Its compartmentalised structure, with part of the water trapped in vesicles and these vesicles trapped or interspersed between extended lamellae, makes it very suitable as system to incorporate molecules of different polar nature. • Gel can permeate inside the skin across the stratum corneum and epidermis, with capability for drug delivery. • The particular organization of these lipid membranes confers great stability, while other systems tent to self-aggregate or flocculate if no stabilizers are included. • The structure and fluidity respond reversibly to temperature and pH changes. • Low concentration of lipids reduces gel production costs. • Application in cosmetic and pharmaceutical fields

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Field tested/evaluated

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
Pharmaceutical or cosmetic companies interested in the development and commercialization under a patent license are sought. -Research cooperation agreement: the partner and the institution could undertake a joint effort to further develop specific applications. -Licensing agreement: the partner would license the technology to carry out the final development, clinical trials and commercialisation of a marketable product.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500


Skin with follicle (arrow), showing permeation of fluorescein (green) and tagged epidermis (blue)