Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property NON-CONFIDENTIAL TECHNOLOGY DISCLOSURE
Biomarker-responsive Drug Delivery Systems for Controlled Release of Opioids and
Opioid Antagonists
Inventor: Sankaran Thayumanavan, Ph.D.


One of the major limitations of opioids, a class of analgesics used for pain management, is their narrow
therapeutic range lacking a substantial difference between lethal and therapeutic doses. Opioid-induced toxicity
leads to hypoventilation (respiratory depression), resulting in an increased concentration of CO2 and a
decreased concentration of O2 in blood plasma. When administered, an overdose of opioid can cause an
individual to cease breathing entirely, which is rapidly fatal without treatment. Opioid antagonists, such as
naloxone and naltrexone, are effective in blocking the toxic effects of opioids; however, it is difficult to determine
when such administration should be made. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop drug delivery systems that
provide controlled release of opioids and opioid antagonists in response to a toxicity biomarker to prevent the
lethal consequences of opioid overdose.
Dr. Thayumanavan has recently developed novel hydrogel-based drug delivery systems for biomarker-
responsive, controlled release of opioids and opioid antagonists. Biomarker CO2 associated with opioid-induced
toxicity is used as an external trigger to both release an opioid antidote and stop the release of an opioid from
their respective nanogel or macrogel delivery vehicles. While nanogels enable intravenous, intramuscular
administration, macrogels can be used for oral delivery. The novel hydrogel compositions developed by Dr.
Thayumanavan enable the delivery vehicles to expand and contract in response to changes in the CO2
concentration, resulting in timely and controlled dosing of the opioid and opioid antidote drugs.


• Individualized and safe drug delivery that • Biomarker-mediated automatic, controlled drug • Novel hydrogel compositions providing tailored APPLICATIONS
• Pain management for battlefield and clinical ABOUT THE INVENTOR
Dr. Thayumanavan is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an expert in organic and polymer chemistry. His research focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of organic macromolecules of interest in supramolecular chemistry, materials science and biological applications. He has broad and well-established expertise in developing custom-designed molecules for specific end-use applications especially in the area of polymer-based vehicles for delivery of therapeutics. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: Available for Licensing or Sponsored Research
PATENT STATUS: Patent Pending
Contact the UMass Amherst CVIP:


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