Multiplex Poly(ethylene glycol)-based Vaginal Hydrogel for HIV Transmission Prevention

Growth of the primary bacterial vaginosis pathogen Gardnerella vaginalis on hydrogel with entrapped antimicrobial agent subtilosin (A) or pH lowering agent lactic acid (B).

Invention Summary:

Rutgers scientists have developed a polyethylene glycol (PEG) based vaginal hydrogel that can restore the natural microbicidal vaginal barrier functionality and could help prevent HIV transmission. The hydrogel is rapidly formed in-situ that allows maximal mucosal coverage and vaginal dispersion. The exceptional viscosity, elasticity and mechanical strength make this hydrogel superior to any current marketed vaginal gels and as a robust physical barrier to prevent HIV transmission.

This hydrogel consists of multi-arm PEG-thiol polymers that allow simultaneous incorporation of pH lowering units (e.g. Lactic acid), bioadhesion units (e.g. xanthan gums, cellulose), microbicide & spermicide units (e.g. subtilosin A) and polyanionic and RGD units to block free and cell-associated HIV binding (e.g. antiviral agent, tenofovir) into one hydrogel molecule. The degradable nanocarriers and crosslinkers of the hydrogel are all PEG-based, which is water soluble, non-toxic, and biocompatible. The large PEG-based molecules also allow for a high payload of active agents and an improved controlled release profile.

Market Applications:

  • Therapeutics
  • Controlled Release
  • Drug Delivery
  • PEG Platform
  • Anti-Viral
  • Nanocarriers
  • HIV Prevention
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention       


  • Created with FDA approved human biocompatible materials
  • Naturally degradable drug delivery platform; eco-friendly
  • Inexpensive to manufacture
  • Improved controlled release profile over “burst release” alternatives
  • Non-toxic, colorless, odorless
  • Available in both contraceptive and non-contraceptive forms

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Rutgers ID: 2011-068
Life Sciences
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Licensing Manager
Patrick Sinko