PEG-PLGA Copolymer

What is PEG-PLGA?

PEG-PLGA copolymers are biodegradable polymers that have gained popularity in the drug delivery field due to their unique chemical and structural properties. PEG-PLGA copolymers are formed by concatenating hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains with hydrophobic polylactic-glycolic acid (PLGA) backbone. The chemical structure of PEG-PLGA is characterized by repeating units of PEG and PLGA, giving the copolymer certain chemical properties.

Self-assembled micelles of PEG-PLGA copolymersFig. 1. Self-assembled micelles of PEG-PLGA copolymers (Journal of Controlled release. 2014, 183: 77-86).

How to Prepare PEG-PLGA?

Step 1 - Selection of PEG and PLGA. A suitable PEG and PLGA are selected, usually a PEG and PLGA copolymer with an appropriate molecular weight and composition.

Step 2 - Dissolving the PEG and PLGA. The PEG and PLGA are dissolved separately in a suitable organic solvent, such as dimethylimide (DMAc) or chloroform.

Step 3 - Mixing the PEG and PLGA solution. The dissolved PEG and PLGA are mixed together and stirred under an inert atmosphere to make a sufficiently homogeneous mixture.

Step 4 - Add cross-linking agent. Appropriate amount of cross-linking agent is added for cross-linking the PEG and PLGA molecules to improve the stability and mechanical properties of the copolymer.

Step 5 - Polymerization reaction. The mixed solution is placed under an inert atmosphere and the polymerization reaction is carried out by heating or addition of a polymerization catalyst.

Step 6 - Separation and purification. The PEG-PLGA copolymer is separated and purified from the unreacted PEG, PLGA, and crosslinker by appropriate separation and purification methods.

Step 7 - Characterization. Analytical techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), etc. are used to characterize the physicochemical properties of the PEG-PLGA copolymers such as molecular weight, structure, stability and thermal properties.

Step 8 - Storage. PEG-PLGA copolymers should be stored in a dry place, protected from light, at low temperature and re-dissolved for use when needed.

Applications of PEG-PLGA Copolymers

One of the most notable applications of PEG-PLGA is their use as carriers for controlled drug release. The hydrophobic PLGA portion of the copolymer can encapsulate a variety of drugs, including both hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds. On the other hand, the hydrophilic PEG chains contribute to the solubility and stability of the copolymer-drug complex. By adjusting the molecular weight and composition of the PEG-PLGA copolymers, researchers can precisely control the release rate and duration of the encapsulated drug to optimize the therapeutic effect. In addition, PEG-PLGA copolymers can be functionalized with a targeting portion (e.g., an antibody or peptide) to deliver the drug specifically to the target cell or tissue.

Advantages of PEG-PLGA Copolymers

  • First, their biocompatible and biodegradable nature minimizes potential toxicological effects and allows for safe clearance from the body.
  • In addition, due to the tunable composition and molecular weight, PEG-PLGA copolymers are versatile and can be customized to fit drug release profiles for different therapeutic needs.
  • PEG-PLGA copolymers can be modified to improve their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties such as circulation time, target specificity and cellular uptake.

PEG-PLGA copolymers have great potential in drug delivery systems due to their optimal combination of chemistry, structural features and customizable composition. At BOC Sciences, we are committed to providing our customers with high quality products and services that meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Our team of experienced scientists and engineers work closely with our customers to develop customized solutions that meet their specific requirements. With our expertise in PEG-PLGA copolymer synthesis, we are confident that we can provide our customers with the best solutions to meet their needs.


  1. Zhang, K. et al. PEG-PLGA copolymers: Their structure and structure-influenced drug delivery applications. Journal of Controlled release. 2014, 183: 77-86.

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