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Synthesis and characterization of a poly(ethylene glycol)–poly(simvastatin) diblock copolymer

Theodora A. Asafo-Adjei, Thomas D. Dziubla, David A. Puleo
RSC advances 2014 v.4 no.102 pp. 58287-58298
biodegradability, catalytic activity, composite polymers, condensation reactions, drug carriers, drugs, encapsulation, infrared spectroscopy, kinetics, lactones, melting, methyl ethers, polyesters, polyethylene glycol, polymerization
Biodegradable polyesters are commonly used as drug delivery vehicles, but their role is typically passive, and encapsulation approaches have limited drug payload. An alternative drug delivery method is to polymerize the active agent or its precursor into a degradable polymer. The prodrug simvastatin contains a lactone ring that lends itself to ring-opening polymerization (ROP). Consequently, simvastatin polymerization was initiated with 5 kDa monomethyl ether poly(ethylene glycol) (mPEG) and catalyzed via stannous octoate. Melt condensation reactions produced a 9.5 kDa copolymer with a polydispersity index of 1.1 at 150 °C up to a 75 kDa copolymer with an index of 6.9 at 250 °C. Kinetic analysis revealed first-order propagation rates. Infrared spectroscopy of the copolymer showed carboxylic and methyl ether stretches unique to simvastatin and mPEG, respectively. Slow degradation was demonstrated in neutral and alkaline conditions. Lastly, simvastatin, simvastatin-incorporated molecules, and mPEG were identified as the degradation products released. The present results show the potential of using ROP to polymerize lactone-containing drugs such as simvastatin.