The extent to which biologic payloads can be effectively delivered to cells is a limiting factor in the development of new therapies. Limitations arise from the lack of pharmacokinetic stability of biologics in vivo. Encapsulating biologics in a protective delivery vector has the potential to improve delivery profile and enhance performance. Coacervate microdroplets have been developed as cell-mimetic materials with established potential for the stabilization of biological molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Here, the development of biodegradable coacervate microvectors (comprising synthetically modified amylose polymers) is presented, for the delivery of biologic payloads to cells. Amylose-based coacervate microdroplets are stable under physiological conditions (e.g. temperature and ionic strength), are non-cytotoxic owing to their biopolymeric structure, spontaneously interacted with the cell membrane, and are able to deliver and release proteinaceous payloads beyond the plasma membrane. In particular, myoglobin, an oxygen storage and antioxidant protein, is successfully delivered into human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) within 24 hours. Furthermore, coacervate microvectors are implemented for the delivery of human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) growth factor, inducing differentiation of hMSCs into osteoprogenitor cells. This study demonstrates the potential of coacervate microdroplets as delivery microvectors for biomedical research and the development of new therapies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Oct 2020


  • complex coacervate, drug delivery, protein delivery, biologics, microvectors

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