Drug low solubility and stability in physiological environment constitutes a main hurdle in attaining the appropriate bioavailability. Several polymer-based nanotechnologies are being intended in order to optimize the technological (e.g., solubility, stability, bioavailability, etc.) aspects of drugs. Among them, polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, polymeric micelles and polymersomes appear as the most attractive and promising. Concomitant with efforts in the academic arena that aim at overcoming these drawbacks and, strongly motivated by a constant search for innovative therapeutic strategies, a very rich intellectual property has been produced in the last years. This phenomenon has been moved forward by the fact that aiming at registering off-patent or about to be off patent products, pharmaceutical companies develop new formulations of old products. Another ambit of research is the design of more sophisticated drug delivery devices (e.g., targeting, localized delivery) in order to minimize adverse effects that make the administration of certain drugs risky or to enhance the patient compliance. A recent report by Cientifica Ltd. foresees a critical expansion in the nano-based drug delivery market from its current $3.4B (about 10% of the total drug delivery market) to about $26B by 2012, being this only a promising beginning for the $220B forecasted by 2015. Given the present circumstances, we are probably witnessing a new revolution in therapeutics that will take treatment to a different dimension. The goal of the present review is to provide a comprehensive and updated patent compilation of the most recent inventions relying on polymer-based nanoparticulated carriers (polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, polymeric micellles and polymersomes) for the optimization of the technological aspects of therapeutic agents. This article also includes a thorough review of the patents made public in recent years (2003-2007).
Keywords: Pharmaceutical nanotechnology, polymeric nanocarriers, polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, polymeric micelles, polymersomes, drug solubilization and stabilization, enhanced bioavailability
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