Sustained Release Microparticles for the Treatment of Ocular Diseases

A novel, intravitreal microparticle injection capable of controlled-release of protein therapies (including anti-VEGF) for tunable periods of 6-12 months after injection for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.

The Need

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in individuals 65 and older and is the third leading cause of blindness worldwide. Wet AMD is characterized by abnormal growth of leaky blood vessels leading to damage to the macula of the retina resulting in vision loss and permanent legal blindness. Once the blood vessels bleed and scar due to their fragile structure, it will bring irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and retina. For current treatment, monthly intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF such as bevacizumab and ranibizumab are given by an ophthalmologist to block VEGF from initiating angiogenesis. However, frequent injections may lead to infection, elevated intraocular pressure and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. Moreover, the current treatment has resulted in poor patient compliance and increased medical costs due to the side effects associated with the treatment.

The Technology

Researchers at the Ohio State University, led by Dr. Katelyn Swindle-Reilly, have developed a controlled release microparticle system for the treatment of ocular diseases. Comprised of a biodegradable particle with a core component containing a therapeutic agent complexed with a polymer and an outer shell layer of a second polymer, the delivery system is administered by intravitreal injection. Capable of controlled drug release of six to twelve months after injection, this novel biodegradable drug delivery system has the potential to treat several ophthalmic diseases, including glaucoma and wet AMD.

Commercial Applications

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) treatment
  • Drug delivery system for other treatments for ocular diseases
  • Method of delivering treatments for vascular diseases and cancer
  • Treatment of ocular conditions or dysfunctions, such as those caused by cancer or therapy treatments


  • A bi-layered system that will slow biodegradation of the particles, thereby slowing release of the therapeutic and reducing injection frequency
  • Potential reduction in healthcare costs associated with AMD treatment
  • Improved quality of life for patients with ophthalmological diseases

Research Interests

The Ohio State University laboratory that developed this technology has expertise in the design of polymeric biomaterials for soft tissue repair and drug delivery with focused applications in ophthalmology and wound healing. They specialize in polymer synthesis, mechanical characterization, cell-material interactions, and controlled release. The lab is focused on engineering biomimetic polymers that have properties similar to the native tissue to improve wound healing and outcomes after ophthalmic surgery and is open for collaboration for further products and investigational routes.

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