Functionalization of Polylactides by Click Chemistry




Polylactic acid (PLA) and polyglycotides are growing rapidly in popularity as an alternative to petroleum-derived plastics for biomedical applications. They are biodegradable, thermoplastic, and derived from renewable resources. However, there are functional characteristics associated with these polymers that limit their use for some biomedical applications. These include their hydrophobicity and their lack of chemical functionality along their backbone. Also, production of these polymers is often complex and costly. Cost effective production methods for preparing these compounds are needed to reduce the cost of the material. Lower costs would broaden their use as alternatives to petroleum-derived polymers for biomedical applications.


Description of Technology


This invention provides improved click chemistry processes for direct synthesis of polylactide, and for producing novel glycolide polymers using azides and aliphatic groups with alkyne unsaturation. The process yields compounds that overcome the limitations associated with other biocompatible polyesters and enable their use for drug delivery applications due to their Low Critical Solution Temperature. The process also provides a low cost and less complex path to substituted polyglycolides and polylactides.


Key Benefits

  • Process produces polylactide that exhibits Lower Critical Solution Temperatures at physiological relevant temperatures: The polymers undergo solution to gel transition at or near room temperature, enabling usage for a number of in vivo drug delivery applications.
  • Low cost and less complex processes for producing substituted polyglycolides and polylactides: Lower production costs may favor these compounds as an alternative to petroleum-derived plastics.




This technology is useful for cost effectively preparing biodegradable, biocompatible, and bioresorbable polymers for biomedical applications.


Patent Status


Granted US Patent 8,927,682




Gregory Baker, Milton Smith III, Xuwei Jiang, Erin Vogel


Tech ID




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University