I was tasked with making a biodegradable polymer for controlled release drug delivery. Looking at the publications on the subject there was no evidence that the polymers used were safe. I needed to invent something new and safe.
I researched to check the state of the art and then designed my own strategy. I started by obtaining a list of additives approved for use in food. I found two additives that could be used as monomers to make a new class of biodegradable polymer.
By reacting those safe food additive ingredients together, I was able to make a totally new range of PEO-based polymeric ionomers which biodegrade back into those same safe monomers we had used to make them.
They had other advantages including the ability to easily tune their pH to protect sensitive drugs and to select the biodegradation rate.