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Antimicrobial polymer layers for medical devices and controlled drug delivery


Stimuli-responsive bilayer coating to prevent bacterial infection



Russell J. Composto, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering

David M. Eckmann, Horatio C. Wood Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care



Hospital acquired infections are a leading cause of death in the US, with about 10% of hospitalized patients developing an infection, a medical cost of $5 billion.  Implantable devices are prone to biofilm formations, causing infections in the patient.  Existing medical devices have coatings to promote contact killing of microbes or resistance to adhesion, but the coatings may not be biocompatible or have maximum efficacy.



Researchers in the Composto and Eckmann labs have developed a novel bilayer system that combats biofilm formation.  The outer layer is a pH-responsive chitosan-based formulation that is resistant to bacterial adhesion, while the inner layer is an anionic poly acrylic acid monolayer grafted directly on to the device.  The composition of this bilayer brush allows for antibiotic to be loaded and retained.  If a biofilm forms, the pH decreases, causing the outer chitosan layer to swell, yielding controlled release of antibiotic.  Because antibiotic release occurs only in when bacterial growth is detected, the patient minimizes exposure to drug. 



•       Prevent biofilm formation and eradicate bacterial growth

•       Tunable properties allow for control of drug delivery

•       Minimize exposure to antibiotic, a critical step in combating antibiotic resistance and growth of superbacteria




•       Coating of implantable medical devices, including catheters, shunts, and stents

•       Stimuli-responsive drug delivery systems

•       Generate multifunctional grafted bilayers 


Stage of Development

Proof-of-concept demonstration of antibiotic loading and release to eradicate bacterial adhesion and growth


Intellectual Property

UP application (US20150071982 A1)


Reference Media

Lee HS et al.  Biomacromolecules, 2015, 16(2), p. 650-659.

Lee HS et al.  J. Mater. Chem. B, 2013, 1, p. 6382-6391.


Desired partnerships

• License




Download PDF


Docket #  Z6626


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Qishui Chen
University of Pennsylvania
Russell Composto
David Eckmann