A Novel Glycopolymer to Enhance Protein Stability

Tech ID: 22526 / UC Case 2012-422-0


Proteins have found utility for numerous commercial and clinical purposes, including use in biochemical and chemical processes, and as agents for the treatment and prevention of human and veterinary disease. A major challenge associated with the use of proteins is their inherent instability. Many proteins rapidly degrade in response to "environmental stresses," such as changes in temperature, pH, light, and desiccation, which has implications for their production, transport, use and storage. Attachment of poly(ethylene glycol) to therapeutic proteins, a process commonly referred to as PEGylation, has been used successfully to increase their stability in vivo by reducing both protease degradation and renal clearance. However, PEGylation does not necessarily increase protein stability in response to environmental stresses. The development of a technology that enhances the stability of proteins to such stresses would dramatically increase the number of proteins that could be used commercially, reduce costs associated with protein production, storage and transportation, and increase protein shelf-life.


Dr. Heather Maynard and colleagues at UCLA have developed a novel glycopolymer to enhance the stabilization of proteins in response to various environmental stressors, including lyophilization and heat. The glycopolymer incorporates the disaccharide trehalose, which is frequently used as a preservative in foods and is Generally Regarded As Safe. The trehalose-based polymer developed by the Maynard group is prepared in such a way to have end-groups that the polymer can, if desired, be directly attached to the biomolecule. Direct attachment of the trehalose-polymer to proteins increases protein stability using lower polymer concentrations. Moreover, the method of synthesis allows for the preparation of trehalose-based polymers with a narrow molecular weight distribution, something that has not been achievable using methodologies developed by others. Studies are underway to determine whether the attachment of the trehalose-based polymer to the biomolecule also confers properties that are similar or superior to PEGylation, such as enhanced protection from proteolytic degradation and extended in vivo circulation time


  • Increased stability of proteins (e.g. enzymes and antibodies) or other biomolecules (e.g. siRNA) against environmental stressors, reducing the need for controlling such factors in their production, storage, and transportation.
  • A possible substitute for PEGylation.


  • Glycoconjugate can be directly attached to biomolecule, allowing lower concentrations of the glycopolymer to be used to increase biomolecule stability.
  • Method of synthesis allows for preparation of a polymer with narrow molecular weight distribution, which is significant when seeking regulatory approval for an agent incorporating such a polymer.

State Of Development

Ongoing work focuses on validation of protection to other stressors. Experiments are underway to determine in vivo stability of this glycoconjugate.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 11,951,176 04/09/2024 2012-422
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,899,879 01/26/2021 2015-112
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,543,280 01/28/2020 2012-422
Switzerland Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
Germany Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
Spain Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
France Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
United Kingdom Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
Ireland Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
Italy Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
Sweden Issued Patent 2807177 11/13/2019 2012-422
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,273,333 04/30/2019 2015-602
United States Of America Issued Patent 9901648 02/27/2018 2012-422
Japan Issued Patent 6195848 08/25/2017 2012-422
European Patent Office Published Application EP 3723814 10/21/2020 2012-422

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  • Maynard, Heather D.

Other Information


protein stability, protein chemistry, protein degradation, biologics, protein storage, environmental stressors, protein therapeutics, protein delivery, vaccines, protein polymers, drug delivery, antibody, nutraceuticals, food technology

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