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The objective of this study is to develop biodegradable sub-micron poly(lactide-co-glycolide) particles loaded with magnetite/maghemite nanoparticles for intravenous drug targeting.Sub-micron magnetite/PLGA particles (also called composite nanoparticles) were prepared by a modified double emulsion method (w/o/w) or by an emulsion-evaporation process (o/w). To optimize the composite nanoparticles formulation, the influence of some experimental parameters, such as types of magnetite/maghemite nanoparticles, volume of magnetite suspension and amount of polymer were investigated. The morphology, size and zeta potential of the magnetite/PLGA nanoparticles were determined. The magnetite entrapment efficiency and magnetite content were assessed by dosing iron in the composite nanoparticles.TEM photomicrographs showed that the composite nanoparticles were almost spherical in shape with a rather monomodal distribution in size. All composite nanoparticle formulations were found to have the mean diameter within the range of 268–327 nm with polydispersity index within the range of 0.02–0.15. Magnetite nanoparticles coated with oleic acid showed more efficient entrapment (60%) as compared to uncoated magnetite nanoparticles (48%). In both cases, when the volume of magnetite suspension increased, the magnetite entrapment efficiency decreased but the magnetite content increased. In addition, the two-fold rise in the amount of polymer did not significantly affect the composite nanoparticle characteristics except the magnetite content. Finally, none modification of the mean diameter of the composite nanoparticles was observed after storage for 3 months at 4 °C.Magnetite/PLGA nanoparticles were prepared and the influence of some process parameters have been assessed. Improvement of the magnetite entrapment efficiency are in progress and the magnetization properties of the composite nanoparticles will subsequently be tested.