Targeted Tocolytic Liposomes for Preterm Labor




Every year, more than 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.  Complications resulting from preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age, and the rate of preterm birth has increased steadily in the past decades. Preterm birth due to preterm labor continues to be a challenging concern for the practicing obstetrician. Very few drugs have been proven to be effective in the treatment of preterm labor to improve neonatal outcomes. Unfortunately, tocolytic modalities that have shown to be effective are often limited in their use due to associated toxicities to the fetus.


The Technology:

Drs. Jerrie Refuerzo and Monica Longo from the UTHealth Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, in collaboration with Dr. Biana Godin at Houston Methodist, have developed a technology for the treatment of preterm labor. Their targeted tocolytic liposomes are designed to delay preterm labor without crossing the placenta, to provide a treatment option that is safe for both mother and baby.



Image description: Liposomes (LIP) with oxytocin receptor antagonist on their surface will bind to the oxytocin receptor expressed on the pregnant myometrium and localize indomethacin specifically to the uterus, thus improving the tocolytic efficacy of the indomethacin while preventing its transplacental passage.


Stage of Development:

The technology has been validated through in-vivo rodent studies.  Large animal studies are currently underway. 


Intellectual Property Status:

Patent pending and available for licensing


Patent Information:

The preceding is intended to be a non-confidential and limited description of a novel technology created at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). This promotional material is not comprehensive in scope and should not replace company’s diligence in a thorough evaluation of the technology. Please contact the Office of Technology Management for more information regarding this technology.
For Information, Contact:
Hannah Nelson
Senior Technology License Associate
University of Texas Health Science Center At Houston
Jerrie S Refuerzo
Monica Longo
Biana Godin-Vilentchouk
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