An injectable lubricant that is more lubricating with longer in vivo retention than hyaluronic acid

Unmet Need

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is commonly used to treat lubrication deficiencies experienced in eyes, lungs, and other visceral organs. However, the short in vivo residence time of creates a persistent challenge when used as treatment. The introduction of chemical crosslinks is a widely used approach to enhance in vivo longevity of HA, but this comes at a detriment to the properties of HA, including its ability to lubricate. There is a need for lubricating technologies that can be used more effectively than hyaluronic acid.


Duke inventors have reported an injectable lubricant. Specifically, this is a modified formulation of hyaluronic acid that exhibits self-healing properties using dynamic chemical crosslinking. Ureidopyrimidinone groups enable these properties via reversible secondary interactions. Intra-articular injection of the technology has been demonstrated to mitigate anterior cruciate ligament injury-mediated cartilage degeneration in rodents and improved in vivo retention.


  • A composition that surpasses hyaluronic acid with improved lubrication and in vivo retention
  • Maintains injectable properties
The modified hyaluronic acid invention being pushed through a glass syringe. Image provided by Dr. Shyni Varghese.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Varghese, Shyni
  • Gilpin, Anna
  • Hoque, Jiaul

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School of Medicine (SOM)