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Chitosan-based hydrogel for biomedical applications

The chitosan-based hydrogel could be used as an injectable scaffold retaining T-lymphocytes near tumors in cancer immunotherapy.

Biomaterial market opportunity

  • Biomaterials are revolutionizing preventive and therapeutic healthcare and are being increasingly used in the development of new medical devices, drug delivery systems, tissue engineering and wound care
  • Biomaterials represent an important growing market: $149B by 2021 with 16% CAGR (2016-2021)
  • Chitosan: natural biomaterial derived from chitin
    •    Extracted from crustaceans
    •    2nd most abundant biopolymer across the globe
    •    Market: $2.1B by 2021 with 16% CAGR (2016-2021)
    •    Various formulation (gel, fibers, beads, powder, …)
    •    Various biomedical applications restricted by instability and poor mechanical properties

A new hydrogel with excellent mechanical properties

  • A new chitosan-based hydrogel has been co-developed by Dr. Sophie Lerouge (ÉTS) and Dr. Réjean Lapointe (CRCHUM) to overcome current challenges for biomedical applications
  • The chitosan-based gel solution was optimized to reach the following competitive advantages:
    • Injectable scaffold (minimally invasive)
    • Thermosensitive (liquid for injection at room T° – gelation at 37°C into the body)
    • High mechanical resistance
    • Excellent cell compatibility (cell survival and growth)
    • Controlled biodegradability
    • Macroporous (provides space for vascularization, cell-proliferation and cellular interactions in successful tissue regeneration)
    • Mucoadhesive (scaffold retention on tissues)
    • Sterilizable
    • Easy fabrication and handling
    • Simple chemistry (regulations, low cost)
  • Pre-clinical development status: In-vivo proof-of-concept for T-cell immunotherapy (Fig.1)

The ideal scaffold for various biomedical applications

  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Local drug delivery
  • Tissue engineering
  • Treatment with bioactive agents
  • Bioinks for 3D bioprinting


Patents: PCT/CA2017/051473 & PCT/CA2017/051454

Business opportunity for partnering on pre-clinical development or in-licensing


If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Christine Martens, Principal Director Business Development, Life Sciences
cmartens@aligo.ca, (514) 840-1226, Ext. 3008


École de Technologies Supérieures and Centre de Recherche du CUHM

Main inventors

Photo Sophie Lerouge

Dr. Sophie Lerouge, Full professor at École de technologie supérieure and researcher at the CHUM research center

Sophie Lerouge is full professor at Ecole de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) and researcher at the CHUM research center (CRCHUM) in Montréal where she held the Canada Research Chair in endovascular implants and biomaterials from 2008 to 2018. Fellow in Biomaterials science and engineering since 2016, she is also member of the board of the Canadian Society for Biomaterials as Past President.

Through her multidisciplinary approach at the frontier between material science and cell biology, she is developing new technologies for the minimally invasive treatment of vascular, musculosqueletal and cancer diseases, in collaboration with clinicians and industrials. Her work has led to 80 peer review papers, as well as several innovation and research awards including the Médaille du 50e anniversaire du réseau de l’Université du Québec.

Photo Réjean Lapointe

Dr. Réjean Lapointe, Head of Cancer Research Department CRCHUM, Scientific Director of Institut du Cancer de Montréal, Professor Medicine Faculty of Université de Montréal

Réjean Lapointe is a researcher specialized in human tumor immunology since 1997. He got his basic training at Université Laval from 1987-1997 in microbiology and immuno-virology, and moved to the NIH in the group of Steven Rosenberg and Patrick Hwu while working on tumor immunology. He was recruited at Université de Montréal/CHUM/Institut du cancer de Montréal in 2002, where he is now full professor. He also is the current head of the CRCHUM Cancer research department and Scientific director of the Institut du cancer de Montréal. Objectives in the last 10 years were oriented at both fundamental and applied research to: study T and B lymphocyte biology, establishing a Cell therapy program, and a clinical Immuno-monitoring platform, study tumor-immune system interactions, find new tumor antigens, develop new vaccination systems and immunotherapies. He is part of 2 FRQS Networks (cancer and cell therapy), the National Center of Excellence on Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment the immunotherapy network and the Montreal Cancer Consortium, the last 2 being supported by the Terry Fox Research Institute. He manages the FRQS/CHUM Breast Cancer Bank and has established the clinical CHUM immune-monitoring platform (6 clinical trials with Pharma). He published over 60 articles in immunology, oncology and microbiology.