The Growing Role of Polymer Synthesis Driven by Modern Advances in Drug Delivery


Not everyone knows what Polymer Synthesis is, but many have heard of new innovations in how drugs are delivered and absorbed into the body. Thanks to polymer synthesis, implantable devices are administering consistent medications into patients who sorely need them; those with pacemakers are being spared from dangerous infections; and orthopedic pins, vascular grafts and sutures are possible.

Read more about our cGMP Medical Grade Polymers Capabilities »

Polymer synthesis, also called polymerization, is a process through which monomers, or small molecules, are bonded to form a polymer chain or network. Polymerizations occur in many forms and are created through the repetitive chemical bonding of individual monomers. Assorted combinations of heat, pressure and catalysis alter the chemical bonds that hold monomers together, causing them to bond with one another. Most often, they do so in a linear fashion, creating chains of repetitive molecules.

The New Drug Delivery Agent

Polymer synthesis has grown substantially over the past few years thanks to advances in drug delivery and the controlled release of therapeutic agents in constant doses over long periods.

What is driving the market is the growth in chronic diseases, as well as advances in technology, combined with a better understanding of drug metabolism in patients.

Drugs to deliver insulin, anti-cancer or anti-infection drugs are being administered directly into the body through drug delivery devices. These devices help in expanding the effectiveness of the drug being delivered by controlling time, measurement, and place of arrival of the drugs in the body.

Plastics created by polymer synthesis are enabling this form of drug delivery. The devices can be conventional or implantable, such as infusion pumps. Infusion catheters such as valves, IV sets, needles, and cannulas are also used for drug delivery.

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Polymer Synthesis in Action

Here at PCI Synthesis, within our cGMP Advanced Polymer Manufacturing and Development Group, one of the projects we have worked on is the processing of Ethyl Vinyl Acetate, a binding ingredient, with very unique properties. It is used to make a variety of different products, which once implanted into patients, allows the active ingredients to be diffused over time throughout the body. They are used to deliver a number of medications to treat numerous conditions.

Many polymer materials can penetrate areas of the body where typical actives can’t reach. Another example is polymer-woven pouches that are used to house electronic implantable devices. The woven fabric serves as a barrier between the patient’s body and the pace maker and helps to limit infections.

In addition to implantable medical devices, and drug delivery, other polymers can include nano-polymer particle technology for delivering therapeutics as well as excipients and medical-grade coatings.

A Specialized Industry with Specific GMP-Level Requirements

Many sponsors come to PCI Synthesis for scale up and manufacturing of GMP-grade polymers, since it is a highly specialized area. We currently have several Ph.D.-level chemists within our Devens R&D group who only work on polymer projects

Advanced polymer manufacturing projects require sophisticated analytical techniques, and it can be difficult for companies to find that level of expertise.

When choosing a CMO to assist with polymer processes, companies should look for those that not only have this expertise but that can simultaneously develop and manufacture in one organization both the API and any polymer-based technology that may be required for combination products which are becoming more and more prevalent in pharmaceutical development.

Polymer synthesis is a unique capability that will continue to grow in demand as the medical industry turns to polymers for controlled drug delivery, wound management, orthopedic devices and other applications. Ensuring the highest level of GMP quality and expertise in this unique specialty is essential to its safety and success.

Want to know more about polymer synthesis capabilities at PCI Synthesis? Contact us at 978-462-5555 or