Featured Technology: nanoScyl®

nanoScyl® is our proprietary glycosaminoglycan-based nanogel that stabilizes bioactive molecules. This product is the next generation, animal-free version of the heparin nanoparticles Dr. Anderson developed at UCLA, which were featured in Nature Materials in May 2018.

This technology has a demonstrated ability to regrow brain tissue, and the next generation version of the material expands the applications to include:

Enzyme Lifetime Enhancement - biosensors, sequencing, alternative energy

Growth Factor Activity Improvement - regenerative medicine, skin care

Antigen Presentation for Immunotherapy - cancer vaccines

Drug Delivery - small molecule, DNA/RNA, antibody, conjugates and fragments

Lyophilization - protein stabilization during freeze drying

Cell Culture - improve the performance of growth factors in cell culture media

On its own and in combination with bioactive molecules, nanoScyl® exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. Contact us with your specific application, and we can tailor the nanogel chemistry to address your needs.

Case Study: VEGF-heparin nanoparticles (Featured in Nature Materials)

Objective: Enhance half-life and signaling activity of VEGF.

Method: Bind VEGF to heparin nanoparticle for matrix-bound presentation to HUVEC VEGFR-2 receptors. Test methods included ELISA, western blot, and tube formation angiogenesis assay.

Results: (Top, left) High density VEGF-nanogel conjugates, (Top, right) Low density VEGF-nanogel conjugates, (Bottom, left) VEGF without nanogel conjugation, (Bottom, right) nanogels without VEGF (but VEGF present in media). The half-life of the molecule improved 30-fold when bound to the nanogel material and endothelial tube branching morphogenesis increased 2.5-fold.

Conclusion: The heparin nanoparticles enhanced the half-life and signaling activity of VEGF.

Paragraph 160 of the 2012 Heparin Nanocluster patent application details the method used for the heparin nanoparticles in the 2018 Nature Materials publication (see "Heparin nanoparticle synthesis" in Materials and Methods section). The authors utilized Dr. Anderson's heparin nanoparticles for regrowing brain tissue by optimizing the VEGF to heparin nanoparticle ratio and the VEGF-heparin nanoparticle to heparin nanoparticle ratio.

The technology was featured on the local news in Los Angeles and on the SciShow YouTube video blog.

Case Study: Transdermal delivery (NeuLuna)

Objective: Develop system to deliver large, hydrophilic molecules such as hyaluronic acid into human skin.

Method: Oil-based nanoemulsion with nanogel internal phase carrying fluorescently labeled hyaluronic acid tested on cadaver skin in diffusion cell.

Results: (O/W) oil-in-water control, (-/-) water-in-oil control, (+/-) AQUA emulsifier system introduced to water-in-oil emulsion, (-/+) AQUA processing introduced to water-in-oil emulsion, (+/+) AQUA emulsifier system and processing introduced to water-in-oil emulsion. Diffusion coefficient of hyaluronic acid enhanced 2.5-fold in (+/+) over current marketed products (O/W and -/+). Our technology delivers more hyaluronic acid to the skin than what is lost on a daily basis.

Conclusion: A transdermal delivery nanotechnology has been developed in which the diffusion of the molecule through the stratum corneum is dependent on the diameter of the internal phase nanogel, not on the molecular weight of the individual molecule.

This skin care technology is patented and exclusive to the NeuLuna brand. NeuLuna can be purchased at

Case Study: Biosensor enzyme stabilization (Collaboration with Livermore National Lab)

Objective: Extend useable life of implantable biosensors by improving stability of surface enzymes.

Method: Bind enzymes to biofunctionalized surface composed of nanoScyl®. Compare to BSA-glutaraldehyde approach currently used in field.

Results: Blue lines = AQUA method (nanoScyl®). Red lines = BSA-glutaraldehyde method. AQUA's nanoScyl® doubles initial activity and then sustains signal for over 3 weeks. Different enzymes have varying tolerances for BSA-glutaraldehyde method with glucose oxidase the most tolerant (which could explain why method became widespread). Acetylcholinesterase does not tolerate BSA-glutaraldehyde method well.

Conclusion: nanoScyl® improves stability of implantable biosensor enzymes.

Materials Research Society Spring 2018 Conference Abstract Available Here

Contract Services

We offer contract services to customers who seek expert technical advice, product prototyping, and process development for projects including:

Conjugation - antibody conjugates; binding to magnetic beads and other (nano)particle substrates

Biomaterials - animal-free material; natural and synthetic polymers with customer specific functionality

Cell Culture - enhance cell attachment and growth rate; custom hydrogel synthesis for stem cells, cancer immunotherapy virus production/purification, and more

Delivery Systems - transdermal, pulmonary, and sublingual

Biosensors - biomolecule immobilization (DNA/protein) and stabilization

We also manage early stage research and development projects through pilot production and pre-clinical testing.

About AQUA Biomaterials

Sean Anderson, PhD

Dr. Sean M. Anderson, a science and engineering professional with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UCLA, has over a decade of experience working in the regulated biopharmaceutical industry. He has worked on technical projects that involve biomaterials, synthetic polymers, delivery systems, cell culture, and surface functionalization. His expertise ranges from concept and design to pilot production and scale-up.

When his father began to suffer from diabetic neuropathy, Sean realized that his knowledge was well suited to develop a solution for sufferers of this debilitating disease. During his graduate studies, Sean created a biomaterial that regrows brain tissue. The underlying concept of stimulating brain tissue to regenerate is similar to restoring functional nerve activity in diabetic neuropathy patients.

Seeking a way to fund his research, Sean recognized that hyaluronic acid, a molecule he became familiar with in his technical training, had value in the skin care market. Not satisfied with simply selling a plug and play formulation, Sean invented and developed a technology that increases hyaluronic acid adsorption in the skin by 250% over the current standard.

Click here for Sean's LinkedIn page.