Degradable Unimolecular Nanoparticles

Executive Summary

Biodegradable polymers are useful as drug delivery agents. MSU researchers have developed a poly(glycolide) based polymer that forms unimolecular micelles with diameters less than 50 nm. These nanoparticles contain functional groups which provide anchoring sites for drugs, contrast agents or other biological agents.  

Description of Technology

Biodegradable polymers such as polylactic acid or poly(glycolide) are useful for various biomedical applications as they are biodegradable, biocompatible and bioresorbable. However, they lack appropriate functional groups which limits their utility in some applications. This technology provides a new biodegradable nanoparticle based on a poly(glycolide) polymer. The polymer is a scaffold with functional groups along the backbone which are reactive sites for click chemistry which provide sites for anchoring drugs or other biological agents or groups that act as contrasting agents for NMR imaging.

The polymers form unimolecular micelles of less than 50 nm in diameter and in some cases less than 15 nm, making them small enough to cross the blood brain barrier. The technology provides for crosslinking of the particles for enhanced dimensional stability. These unimolecular nanoparticles are capable of sequestering biological agents and release such by diffusion from or chemical degradation of the nanoparticles.

Key Benefits

  • Unimolecular nanoparticles useful to delivering drugs, contrasting dyes, biological agents
  • Biodegradable, bioresorbable polymers


  • Drug delivery
  • Diagnostic imaging

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Patent Status

US Granted Patent 8,394,914

Licensing Rights Available

Full licensing rights available


Gregory Baker, Milton Smith, Erin Vogel

Tech ID


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University