Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is made from two monomers, lactic acid and glycolic acid. The ratio of the monomers and the molecular weight set the identity and properties. For example, PLGA 88:12 means the polymer is made of 88 percent lactic acid and 12 percent glycolic acid. Generally, the higher the percentage of lactide units, the longer the polymer lasts before degrading in the presence of water. The higher the molecular weight, the greater the mechanical strength.
PLGA is both biodegradable and biocompatible, and since both monomers occur naturally it has minimal toxicity. PLGA is naturally amorphous (not crystalline). While poly(lactic) and poly(glycolic) acid are poorly soluble in most solvents, PLGA dissolves in many common solvents including tetrahydrofuran, acetone, ethyl acetate and chlorinated solvents. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved PLGA for micro and nano particles and for a number of therapeutic devices such as grafts, sutures, implants and prosthetic devices.
More information on PLGA and related polymers is available at:
- Asian Journal of Pharmaceutics
- European Cells and Materials Journal
- Drug Delivery and Development
PLGA and related block and speciality copolymers are sold by PolySciTech® Division of Akina, Inc. under the trade name PolyVivo. Akina's SpinSwiper device can be used to make large quantities of PLGA microparticles for drug delivery.
Common uses for our formulations include forming "stealth" pegylated microparticles, thermogelation, water-solubilization of drugs and plasticization of polymer mixtures (non-soluble). (Look at block copolymers here.)
Our products can also serve as intermediates in folate-pegylation of a customer item for cancer targeting, customer endcapping with peptide ligands (must contain free thiol), customer functionalization for visualization or endcapping, vinylically reactive for binding into radical chain synthesized polymers and hydrophobication of amines. (Look at intermediates here.)
Other common uses are for binding to and solubilization of amine-bearing drugs, bone cement applications, water solubilization, solid phase drug delivery/implantable systems and water soluble homopolymers. (Look here and here.)