Electromotive Drug Delivery System

Technology #12902


The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in licensing a novel method and apparatus for the electromotive delivery of macromolecules into tissue. Iontophoresis is a non-invasive method of delivering ionic therapeutic agents transdermally, or through the skin, by force of a low level electric current. Although this process dates back to the early 1900s, it has not been understood enough for efficacious macromolecular drug delivery without causing significant tissue damage. University of Florida researchers have developed a method and device that can generate a high enough electric field to deliver optimal doses of macromolecules into any tissue, cell, membrane, or anatomical structure, such as corneas, skin, hair, finger and toe nails, and internal tissues. A primary advantage to this system is that the device is able to transdermally deliver the therapeutic macromolecular solution to the desired tissue without destroying the tissue itself.


Electromotive delivery of molecular biological agents into intact internal and external tissues


  • Safely delivers macromolecular drugs transdermally without causing significant tissue damage, providing a major competitive advantage over current methods
  • Utilizes electrodes with buffering agent, allowing for higher electric current to be applied, enabling transdermal delivery of macromolecules
  • Decreases the distance therapeutic agent must travel to reach tissue, reducing time of delivery
  • Prevents macromolecular drugs from being reduced or oxidized by electrode, eliminating risk of modifications to drug molecule and unexpected side effects
  • Targets advancing field of macromolecular drug therapy, a growing and highly profitable area of medical treatment


Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids are the four macromolecules, or very large molecules, that are used in the body’s cells for both structural and functional support. Macromolecular drugs hold great promise as therapeutic agents for a variety of diseases and disorders. However, contemporary methods for macromolecular drug delivery have been very limited due to the size of macromolecules and a lack of a safe and efficient transdermal delivery method. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a method and device that is able to control the ionic strength, or resistivity, of the delivery system and keep it low, while having a sufficient buffering capacity that eliminates the caustic byproducts of electrolysis, primarily catastrophic tissue destruction. This allows the macromolecular solution to be delivered to the desired tissue via one or numerous electrodes tightly bound to a matrix or other structure, such as cotton or a gel, which prevents or reduces the movement of the buffering agents in response to the electric field created by the voltage applied. The device also decreases the distance that the therapeutic agent has to travel to be delivered and prevents the drug from being reduced or oxidized during the process.