PLA/PLGA Microspheres and Their Role in Sustained Release Drug Delivery
With over 20 years of experience developing time-release pharmaceuticals, Oakwood Labs is a trusted industry source for pharmaceutical products that include PLA and PLGA microspheres. PLGA and PLA polymers are FDA-approved biodegradable and biocompatible polymers that have been used in medical devices, including microspheres.
PLA Microspheres vs. PLGA Microspheres
PLA and PLGA microspheres are widely studied polymers in the medical field, as they allow for the encapsulation of the desired active pharmaceutical ingredient or drug. The PLA microspheres aide in controlling the release of the drug from the polymer matrix and allow for a sustained release of the drug over a period of time that can vary from weeks to several months.
PLA microspheres exhibit asymmetric centers in their backbone which result in either D or L forms, producing PDLA or PLLA. PLGA is the copolymer of D, L-lactic acid with glycolic acid.
While both PLA and PLGA microspheres are insoluble in water, their absorption of water causes them to degrade over time. The methyl groups of PLA microspheres decrease the water uptake properties of the polymer, thereby extending its time-release properties.
One of the most important factors that affects the degradation rate of PLA and PLGA microspheres is the molecular weight of the polymer. Crystalline parts of the polymer exhibit more resistance to degradation. As Keles states, “the crystallinity of the polymer depends on compositions. For example, increasing the percentage of glycolide monomer in PLGA backbones decrease polymer crystallinity.”
PLA and PLGA Microspheres Play a Critical Role
One advantage of working with PLGA and PLA microspheres is the fact that the polymers can be used to encapsulate almost all types of drugs. This includes:
- Small molecules
It’s possible for the microspheres to have such diverse abilities because they come in a variety of comonomer ratios, molecular weights, and end-capping configurations. This allows the release duration to be tailored for each specific drug. In addition, the release profile, such as the burst release, can be modified by choosing the appropriate polymer for the reaction.
The release profile of the drug over time is dependent on the specific drug that is being encapsulated by the PLA and PLGA microspheres. Interactions between the polymers and the drug can be positive or adverse and require an in-depth understanding to develop a successful microsphere product.
Our Process of Developing PLGA and PLA Microspheres
In initial production stages, we utilize small batches to allow for testing of a multitude of trial batches and rapid production. As we develop the formulation with the desired time-release profile and additional desired characteristics, we then refine methods of production. Our processing of developing PLA and PLGA microspheres starts in small batches to ensure that all desired properties are met and can then be scaled to a commercial production process.
Our Chroniject™ PLA/PLGA microsphere time-release injections are a leader in the industry and have several key benefits. Some of the benefits include:
- Rapid development of formulations with small-scale batches that are easily scalable
- Proven lot-to-lot reproducibility
- Flexible release durations that vary from one week to one year
- Applications in multiple therapeutic indications (CNS, neurology, ophthalmology)
Contact Us for Your PLA/PLGA Microsphere Needs
Oakwood Labs is equipped to support all development phases of time-release drugs using our PLA/PLGA microsphere technology. If you are interested in knowing more about how our microspheres can help you, contact our team today.
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