Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have developed a novel method for straightforward synthesis of poly-alkylpyridinium salts (poly-APS). Poly-APS is a natural pore-forming agent isolated from a marine sponge that forms transient (reversible) pores in the membrane of a wide variety of cell types, thus allowing access of small molecules and macromolecules to cells.

About the technology

The new method provides for synthesis of low-dispersity poly-APS with different pore sizes and variable linking chains which could be used to tune the biological properties for specific applications. These poly-APS molecules are highly applicable to delivery of molecules in biomedical research due to their high stability and water solubility and have been shown to deliver small molecules, DNA and peptides to cells. Two new chemical entities have been prepared which show greater potency than naturally-isolated poly-APS.

Applications and benefits


  • Tool for biomedical research
  • Formation of transient (reversible) pores in mammalian cells
  • Entry of small molecules and macromolecules into cells
  • Intracellular delivery of membrane-impermeant small molecules
  • Delivery of charged and uncharged molecules


  • Straightforward method for synthesis of poly-APS
  • Consistent degree of dispersion
  • Gram quantities from lab-based synthesis
  • Potential for altering pore size and properties through poly-APS structure

Pending patent applications in the US (13/146566) and Europe (10706726.6)

For further information, contact

Dr James Duncan, Research & Innovation
Email: James Duncan
Tel: 01224 272918