Parenteral antibiotic therapy for acute bone infections, soft tissue infections and osteomyelitis may result in high serum concentrations, associated with nephrotoxic, ototoxic and allergic complications. After taking these above mentioned disadvantages into consideration, recent investigations have explored the use of antibiotic-loaded biodegradable implants, incorporating antibiotics for potential use in the treatment of bone infections. In this study, biodegradable implants containing teicoplanin for the prevention or the treatment of bone infections were designed by using sodium alginate as the polymer material. Therefore, teicoplanin, a glycopeptide antibiotic, active against gram-positive bacteria was incorporated in a natural polymer in order to prepare bead formulation for implantation purpose in bone for the localized treatment of osteomyelitis. In vitro characterization was realized by determining particle size, surface characteristics, loading capacity and in vitro release characteristics of the beads. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.