The use of Synthetic Amphiphile INTeraction-18 (SAINT-18) carrying plasmid pigment epithelium-derived factor (p-PEDF) as an anti-angiogenesis strategy to treat corneal neovascularization in a rat model was evaluated. Four partially dried forms (Group A: 0 microg, B: 0.1 microg, C: 1 microg, D: 10 microg) of a p-PEDF-SAINT-18 were prepared and implanted into the rat subconjunctival substantia propria 1.5 mm from the limbus at the temporal side. The 1 microg of plasmid-basic fibroblast growth factor--SAINT-18 (p-bFGF-SAINT-18) (1 microg) was prepared and implanted into the rat corneal stroma 1.5 mm from the limbus on the same side. Inhibition of neovascularization was observed and quantified from day 1 to day 60. PEDF (50-kDa) and bFGF (18-kDa) protein expression were analyzed by biomicroscopic examination, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Gene expression in corneal and conjunctival tissue was observed as early as 3 days after gene transfer and stably lasted for over 3 months with minimal immune reaction. Subconjunctival injection of a highly efficient p-PEDF-SAINT-18 successfully inhibited corneal neovascularization. Successful gene expression of bFGF, PEDF and a mild immune response of HLA-DR were shown by immunohistochemistry staining. We concluded that SAINT-18 was capable of directly delivering genes to the ocular surface by way of subconjunctival injection, and delivered sustained, high levels of gene expression in vivo to inhibit angiogenesis.