NAHYCO® HYBRID TECHNOLOGY: the hybrid formulation revolution

21 November 2023

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a molecule naturally produced by the human body, which performs important physiological functions such as lubricating and protecting joint cartilage and moisturizing the skin and mucous membranes. IBSA Italy is the first and only company to have developed, in collaboration with the University of Campania, Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Biotechnology, Medical Histology and Molecular Biology, hybrid formulations of hyaluronic acid thanks to the NAHYCO® HYBRID TECHNOLOGY, a patented thermal process that excludes the use of chemical reagents and leads to the formation of cooperative hybrid complexes.

The NAHYCO® HYBRID TECHNOLOGY combines high- and low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid chains, both ultra-pure and biofermentative, in 3 operational steps:

  • in the first step, a physiological solution containing 32 mg of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (between 1,100 and 1,400 kDaltons) and 32 mg of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (between 80 and 100 kDaltons) is prepared;
  • in the second phase, thermal elevation causes the hydrogen bonds within the high and low molecular weight chains to break, allowing them to separate;
  • in the third phase, the lowering of the temperature allows the formation of new hydrogen bonds between the low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid chains, resulting in stable, chemically unmodified hyaluronic acid hybrid co-operative complexes.

IBSA's NAHYCO® HYBRID TECHNOLOGY allows to obtain hybrid hyaluronic acid formulations with a very high concentration – 3.2% hyaluronic acid as opposed to the previous 2% formulations, which are considered the second generation of hyaluronic acid. HA's hybrid formulations have a higher resistance to enzymatic degradation and therefore a longer persistence. They are able to reproduce the physical and mechanical cushioning and viscoelastic properties of healthy synovial fluid thanks to the use of high purity hyaluronic acid obtained through biofermentation and not through the extraction from animals, similar to that found in the human body and free of any chemical modifications. The low viscosity of hybrid formulations allows high concentrations of hyaluronic acid to be easily delivered without compromising the ease of injection and makes it possible to use thin needles, thus improving patient compliance.

The NAHYCO® technology is mainly applied to hyaluronic acid but can also be extended to mixtures of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid with other polymers of the same family (glycosaminoglycans or GAGs).  Thanks to intensive research and development efforts and the application of NAHYCO® technology, IBSA has combined in hybrid complexes high molecular weight hyaluronic acid and a new glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sodium, which is also biofermentative and plays a similar role to low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid. The result is a new formulation: combined hybrid hyaluronic acid, considered to be the third generation of HA, which is highly innovative and has optimal characteristics of durability and rheology.