University of Minnesota
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Researchers benchmark tunable polymers for oral drug adminstration

Oral drug delivery is the most widespread and desirable form of administration for patients worldwide. Unfortunately, many new drug molecules suffer from poor water solubility, an enormous challenge to efficiency and reliability in overall therapeutic delivery to molecular targets. In response, researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) at the University of Minnesota have partnered with the Dow Chemical Company to formulate new polymeric materials to better understand and overcome this key issue.

One such effort was led by CEMS graduate student Jeff Ting, who is co-advised by Professor Frank Bates and Professor Theresa Reineke, along with former chemistry post-doctorate Tushar Navale, Ph.D., and CEMS undergraduate Seamus Jones. Their most recent publication “Deconstructing HPMCAS: Excipient Design to Tailor Polymer-Drug Interactions for Oral Drug Delivery,” which was published in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, was selected as an American Chemical Society Editors’ Choice Article, allowing open access of their work to the global community of researchers.

The researchers have developed a well-defined synthetic polymer platform and examined its utility with several model drugs at various dosages, which exhibited promising delivery performances with high levels of drug solubilization. Moreover, key structure-property relationships were systematically identified to enable future development of rationally-designed delivery systems.

The Dow Chemical Company has also worked with the University of Minnesota to file and license this technology through two related world patent applications entitled, Sugar containing, amphiphilic copolymers, and Sugar free, statistical copolymer made from at least three monomers.