Skip navigation

Polymer therapeutics: Top 10 selling pharmaceuticals — What next?

Polymer therapeutics: Top 10 selling pharmaceuticals — What next?

Duncan, Ruth (2014) Polymer therapeutics: Top 10 selling pharmaceuticals — What next? Journal of Controlled Release, 190. pp. 371-380. ISSN 0168-3659 (doi:

Full text not available from this repository.


At the time of the first issue of the Journal of Controlled Release (JCR), polymeric drugs, polymer–drug and protein conjugates and block copolymer micelles carrying bound drugs, i.e. polymer therapeutics, were still regarded as scientific curiosities with little or no prospect of generating practical to use medicines. How this perception has changed. Many major Pharma now have R&D programmes in this area and in 2013 two polymer therapeutics, Copaxone® and Neulasta®, are featured in the Top 10 US pharmaceutical sales list. Although there are a growing number of marketed products (e.g. PEGylated proteins, a PEG-aptamer and oral polymeric sequestrants), and the first follow-on (generic products) are emerging, the first polymer–drug conjugates and block copolymer micelle products (as covalent conjugates) have yet to enter routine clinical use. Industrial familiarity and recent advances in the underpinning scientific disciplines will no doubt accelerate the transfer of polymer therapeutics into clinically useful medicines and imaging agents. This short personal perspective reflects on the current status of polymer therapeutics and the future opportunities to improve their successful translation. It adds to recent and historical reviews that comprehensively document the evolution of the field since JCR was born.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Published in Journal of Controlled Release, Volume 190, 28 September 2014. 30th Anniversary Special Issue. [2] Author acknowledgement of funding: would like to thank the UK Cancer Research Campaign (now Cancer Research UK) who had the vision to provide programme support to a young scientist (1975–1992, from PhD student to full professor) who was conducting adventurous research that was “ahead of its time”. This gave a clinical focus, confidence to work at the interdisciplinary interface of polymers, cell biology and oncology and provided support to move the first synthetic polymer conjugate into clinical testing.
Uncontrolled Keywords: polymer therapeutics, critical quality attributes, PEGylated proteins, polymer–drug conjugates, block copolymer micelles
Subjects: R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item