Available Technologies

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Photolinker to Cage Biological Molecules


Turn Genes “On” or “Off” with Light


Technology Overview:  

Dmochowski lab has designed a Ruthenium-based  compound, RuBEP, that is  a synthetically versatile photolinker. The photolinker can be tuned to be activated at a large range of visible and near-IR wavelengths, allowing for better tissue penetration and reducing toxicity issues.


The photoactivation is incredibly rapid and efficient, occurring on the order of 20 nanoseconds. The photolinker is easily attached using click chemistry and can be used with a variety of biologics, including peptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides, and lipids.



The ability to regulate the structure, function, and/or localization of a biological molecule in an organism could be used to treat many diseases or facilitate basic research. One such example is to turn on or off gene expression in a specific cell or region in an human/organism. Current methods to accomplish this feat are limited and do not allow for specific activation at a given time and locality.



The Dmochowski Lab has developed a new method to “cage” and “uncage” molecules, using a photo-activated linker. This linker is attached to the molecule, such as antisense RNA.

The molecule is then caged, silencing it or altering its activity. Exposure to  specific wavelengths of light will activate the photolinker to release the molecule.  




  • Controlled, efficient, and specific activation
  • Highly efficient, simple synthesis
  • Variable wavelength activation for RuBEP -> Combination of treatments 



  • Coatings, Surfactant, Emulsifier
  • Vesicle/Nanoparticle
  • Microbubble for Ultrasound Usage
  • MRI Imaging/Theranostic Agent



Ivan Dmochowski, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry 


Stage of Development:

Proof of concept,  in vivo data


Intellectual Property:

Provisional application, file date 8/2014 



Reference Media:

Griepenburg, J.C., et al. Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 2342-2346 



 Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Sponsored research

 Docket # 15-7214


Download PDF


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cortney Cavanaugh
Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
Ivan Dmochowski
Gene Therapy