Dendrimer-based posaconazole nanoplatform for antifungal therapy

Drug Deliv. 2021 Dec;28(1):2150-2159. doi: 10.1080/10717544.2021.1986605.


We examined formulating a new antifungal agent, posaconazole (POS) and its derivatives, with different molecular vehicles. Several combinations of drug and carrier molecules were synthesized, and their antifungal activities were evaluated against Aspergillus fumigatus. Posaconazole and four of its derivatives were conjugated to either generation 5 (G5) dendrimers or partially modified G5 dendrimers. The in vitro antifungal activities of these compounds suggest that conjugates with specific chemical linkages showed better fungistatic activity than direct conjugates to POS. In particular, a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-imidazole modified G5 dendrimer demonstrated improved antifungal efficacy relative to the parent G5 molecule. Further studies were then conducted with POS derived molecules coupled to PEG-imidazole modified G5 dendrimers to achieve a highly soluble and active conjugate of POS. This conjugated macromolecule averaged 23 POS molecules per G5 and had a high solubility with 50 mg/mL, which improved the molar solubility of POS from less than 0.03 mg/mL to as high as 16 mg/mL in water. The primary release profile of the drug in human plasma was extended to over 72 h, which is reflected in the in vitro inhibition of A. fumigatus growth of over 96 h. These POS-polymer conjugates appear to be novel and efficient antifungal agents.

Keywords: Demethylase inhibitor; antifungal drug; biocompatible; polymer.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / drug effects*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Dendrimers / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Liberation
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Triazoles / pharmacology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Dendrimers
  • Drug Carriers
  • Imidazoles
  • Triazoles
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • posaconazole
  • imidazole

Grants and funding

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of The Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences.