Production of paclitaxel-loaded PEG-b-PLA micelles using PEG for drug loading and freeze-drying

October 1, 2022


A new approach named PEG-assist is introduced for the production of drug-loaded polymeric micelles. The method is based on the use of PEG as the non-selective solvent for PEG-b-PLA in the fabrication procedure. Both hydration temperature and PEG molecular weight are shown to have a significant effect on the encapsulation efficiency of PTX in PEG4kDab-PLA2kDa micelles. The optimal procedure for fabrication includes the use of PEG1kDa as the solvent at 60 °C, cooling the mixture to 40 °C, hydration at 40 °C, freezing at −80 °C and freeze-drying at −35 °C, 15 Pa. No significant difference (p > 0.05) in PTX encapsulation, average particle size and polydispersity index is observed between the samples before freeze-drying and after reconstitution of the freeze-dried cake. The prepared PTX formulations are stable at room temperature for at least 8 h. Scaling the batch size to 25× leads to no significant change (p > 0.05) in PTX encapsulation, average particle size and polydispersity index. PEG-assist method is applicable to other drugs such as 17-AAG, and copolymers of varied molecular weights. The use of no organic solvent, simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency makes PEG-assist a very promising approach for large scale production of drug-loaded polymeric micelles.

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