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Polymer Nanoparticles Improve Delivery of Compounds

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Process of forming an encapsulated nanoparticleClose up image of the nanoparticlesModel of an encapsulated compound within a nanoparticle
Christopher W. Macosko, MSc, PhD
Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, College of Science and Engineering
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending 2007-0122440
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Polymer Nanoparticles Term Sheet [PDF]

Nanoparticles with High Drug Loading Capacity

Encapsulated Nanoparticles for Improved Drug Delivery

The University of Minnesota has developed a method of creating polymer nanoparticles that contain hydrophobic additive compounds such as chemicals, cosmetics, drugs or pigments and improves the availability and delivery of the additive compound. This process results in a material that delivers higher concentrations of compound compared to other nanoparticle delivery materials. The encapsulated nanoparticles have a wide range of sizes and molecular weights and have highly malleable interfacial properties. Other methods lack the same size controls and function malleability.

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** View the Term Sheet **
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Nanoparticle Size and Functionality Controlled by Reaction Rate

The process works by rapidly mixing two reactive polymers along with the hydrophobic additive to form nanoparticles that precipitate from the solution. Control of the reaction rates allows for control of the nanoparticle size. Manipulation of the polymer and compound type allows for changes in the nanoparticle functionality. This method for creating polymer nanoparticles containing hydrophobic materials has applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, drug screenings, agricultural agents, printer inks, flavorings, and cosmetics.


  • Creation of nanoparticles is quick, easily scalable, and cost-effective.
  • Particles in a far greater range of sizes (50-500 nm) and molecular weights can be created than in other methods.
  • Nanoparticle size distributions can be very closely controlled.
  • Nanoparticles with a high loading of the drug or other hydrophobic compound are obtained.
  • Wide ranges of polymers and compounds can be used, resulting in encapsulated nanoparticles with unique optical, chemical, and biological properties.
  • The polymer nanoparticles have applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, drug screenings, agricultural agents, printer inks, flavorings, and cosmetics.

Phase of Development The concept has been proven to work using Beta-Carotene. The full range of achievable particle sizes, the types of particles able to be created, and the possible concentrations of the compounds in the nanoparticle need to be further explored.