Production of High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid

A method of producing Hyaluronic Acid (HA) from naked mole rats that yields higher molecular weights than those produced by current industrial processes.


Problem Solved by This Technology

Dr. Gorbunova and her colleagues at the University of Rochester have discovered that naked mole rats skin cells produce and secret ultra-high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (5,000 - 12,000 kDaltons). In addition, the naked mole rats’ hyaluronan synthase 2 (Has2) gene was sequenced and cloned.

Dr Gorbunova has developed a method to mass produce this ultra-high molecular weight HA up to 12 million Daltons (higher than that obtainable by other methods) using stably transformed naked mole rats skin cell lines that are fast proliferating or through the cloning of Has2 into other expression systems.

The value of HA depends on the length of the polymer (the longer the more valuable). Current production technologies such as purification from bacterial cell wall or from rooster combs result in much shorter polymers with lower molecular weight than those produced using Dr. Gorbunova’s method.



Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a gel-like biomaterial found in tissue space, the synovial fluid of joints, and the vitreous humor of the eyes and, in general, acts as a binding, lubricating and protective agent.

HA is currently used in a variety of medical and cosmetic applications such as injections in arthritic joints, ophthalmic viscoelastic solutions used during cataract and intra-ocular lens placement surgeries, post-surgical anti-adhesion resorbable barrier sheet for wound healing, veterinary medicine (for knee injections for race horses), dietary supplement, cosmetic creams and injections (dermal filler), and as a biomaterial scaffold for tissue engineering research due to its high biocompatibility.

It is estimated that the global HA market to will grow to $2.5 Billion by 2017, with pricing based on molecular weight - the larger, the more valuable.


Technology Status

UR Ventures is seeking funding to scale up the cell culture process and demonstrate efficacy in animal model testing.

URV Reference Number: 1-11027-12015
Patent Information:
Title Country Patent No. Issued Date
Compositions and Methods for Recombinant Synthesis of High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid United States 9,315,588 4/19/2016
For Information, Contact:
Matan Rapoport
Licensing Associate
University of Rochester
Vera Gorbunova
Andrei Seluanov