Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Polymer for Tissue Engineering Applications

Technology #4123

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Scott J. Hollister
Managed By
Kristen Wolff
Senior Licensing Specialist, Medical Devices 734-647-5604
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Poly(glycerol-dodecanoate), a biodegradable polyester for medical devices and tissue engineering scaffolds.
Biomaterials, Volume 30. Page 6479. 2009

Polymeric biomaterials for tissue engineering

Polymeric biomaterials are frequently explored for tissue engineering applications. One family of polymer that has been recently studied is a thermoset polymer, poly-glycerol sebacate (PGS), derived from poly-condensation of glycerol and sebacic acid. Because of its biocompatibility and crosslinking, this polymer provides a conceptual starting point to design a new biopolymer for soft tissue engineering, whose physicochemical properties can be specifically tailored for implantable medical devices.

Polymer, poly-glycerol dodecanoate (PGD), from glycerol and dodecanedioic acid

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new polymer, poly-glycerol dodecanoate (PGD), from glycerol and dodecanedioic acid. This polymer has new and unique mechanical properties, degradation rate, as well as shape-memory effect. Modulus of PGD is temperature-dependent, where it is stiff at room temperature but becomes soft and pliable at body temperature, which is above its glass transition temperature of 32 degrees Celcius. PGD is thought to degrade via surface hydrolysis, and degrades faster in vivo than in vitro, at a rate suitable for tissue engineering applications. In addition, PGD has shape memory effect where stretched specimens returned to its original length upon incubation at 37 degrees Celcius. In vitro biocompatibility studies showed that cells replicated actively on PGD-coated plates, with regular morphology. The researchers have fabricated many forms of this polymer including sheets, sponges and a trileaflet structure.

Applications and Advantages


  • Biomaterial scaffold for tissue engineering
  • Matrix for drug delivery


  • Controllable physicochemical properties including mechanical strength, degradation rate, shape-memory effect
  • Biocompatible