Introduction: Bacterial cellulose (BC) is an extremely pure form of cellulose, which, due to its unique properties, such as high purity, water-holding capacity, three-dimensional nanofibrilar network, mechanical strength, biodegradability and biocompatibility, shows a high potential as nanomaterial in a wide range of high-tech domains including biomedical applications, and most notably in controlled drug-delivery systems. Areas covered: This appraisal is intended to cover the major characteristics of BC, followed by the key aspects of BC production both in static and agitated conditions, and a glance of the major applications of BC, giving some emphasis to biomedical applications. Finally, a detailed discussion of the different applications of BC in controlled drug-delivery systems will be put forward, with focus on topical and oral drug-delivery systems, using either native BC or composite materials thereof. Expert opinion: The limited number of studies carried out so far demonstrated that BC, or materials prepared from it, are interesting materials for drug-delivery systems. There is, however, a large field of systematic research ahead to develop new and more selectively responsive materials and eventually to conjugate them with other biomedical applications of BC under development.