Magnetic nanoparticles for selective enrichment of proteins in complex mixtures

Posted by UACOOPERA from uacooperaResponsive · Patents for licensing · Portugal

Summary of the technology

New method for preparing ion chelating magnetic nanoparticles, which allow selective protein enrichment, namely metalloproteases (MMPs) and His-tagged proteins, from complex mixtures.

UATEC - Unidade de Transferência de Tecnologia


Metalloproteases are present in diverse biofluids (e.g. urine, serum and saliva) and, due to their highly catalytic activity, MMPs are usually expressed in minute amounts and their deregulation can lead to pathological conditions. The present techniques for the characterization of MMPs are often limited, lacking specific antibodies for some proteases. On the other hand, the production of recombinant proteins in a highly purified and well-characterized form has become a major task for protein chemistry and pharmaceutical industry. Some widely used methods are based on immobilized metal affinity chromatography. However, these techniques are often considerably onerous and time consuming.

This methodology is a more efficient alternative to the present methods, being based on magnetic nanoparticles with high affinity for metallic ions.


This technology can be used in diverse applications:

Protein enrichment

Small-scale protein purification (metalloproteases and metal-binding proteins)

water remediation (removal of metallic ions)


REDUCTION OF TIME AND COSTS for the enrichment and specific separation of vestigial proteins in biological samples, through a combination, within the same material, of properties such as:


CONSIDERABLY STABLE in commonly used tampons for biological applications.

ENHANCED VERSATILITY: the nanoparticles are stable at a significant pH range (pH 5-9).

SUITABLE FOR WATER REMEDIATION AND ANALYSIS due to the elevated affinity of these nanomaterials to metallic ions.


European patent pending.


TRL 4: tested for protein enrichment at laboratorial scale, with very promising results.

The material is available for presentation.


Magnetic nanoparticles

Surface modification

Chelating ligands


Histidine-tagged proteins


Researchers of the Institute for Biomedicine (iBiMED) and of Aveiro Institute of Materials (CICECO) from the University of Aveiro.


Licensing agreement.

Testing of new applications.


The University of Aveiro seeks partners within the industries of biotechnology, pharmaceutics, healthcare and environment.

Technology #CI14012

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Technology Owner


Technology Transfer Office

Additional information (attached documents)

Related keywords

  • Industrial Technologies
  • Chemical Technology and Engineering
  • Pharmaceutics
  • Physical Sciences and Exact Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Separation Technologies
  • Micro- and Nanotechnology
  • Biological Sciences
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  • Biology / Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry / Biophysics Technology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology Technology
  • In vitro Testing, Trials Technology
  • Molecular design Technology
  • Toxicology Technology
  • Enzyme Technology
  • Protein Engineering
  • Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Protecting Man and Environment
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  • Remediation of Contaminated Sites
  • Water Management
  • Genetic Engineering / Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology Market
  • Enzymology/Protein Engineering/Fermentation
  • Industrial Products
  • Chemicals and Materials
  • Pollution and Recycling Related
  • Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems

About uacoopera

Technology Transfer Office from Portugal

The University of Aveiro is a young and innovative university, which fosters entrepreneurship and technology and knowledge transfer, with expertise in a wide range of knowledge areas namely IT, Life Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Health, Environmental Sciences), Nanotechnology and Materials Science, Mechanics, Physics, Mathematics, Building, Design and Management. uacoopera is the Technology Transfer Office of University of Aveiro. This office engages in value adding activities such as start-up and spin-off creation, support to university-industry cooperation (sponsored research and consultancy services), IP protection and prosecution, licensing, marketing, among others. It covers four main interrelated functional areas – Intellectual Property Management, Licensing, Entrepreneurship, and Industry Liaison.

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