Abstract Among the different approaches to achieve protein delivery, the use of polymers, specifically biodegraded, holds great promise. In this work, a new microsphere delivery system composed of alginate microcores surrounded by a biodegradable poly- dl-lactide-poly(ethylene glycol (PELA) was designed to improve the loading efficiency and stability of proteins. Alginate was solidified by calcium (MS-1), polylysine (MS-2) and chitosan (MS-3), respectively, to form different microcores. Human Serum Albumin (HSA), used as a model protein, was efficiently entrapped within the alginate microcores using a high-speed stirrer and then microencapsulated into PELA copolymer using a w/o/w solvent extraction method. DSC analysis of the microspheres revealed the efficient encapsulation of the alginate microcores, while the microcores were dispersed in the PELA matrix. SDS–PAGE results showed that HSA kept its structural integrity during encapsulation and release procedure. Microspheres were characterized in terms of morphology, size, loading efficiency, in vitro degradation and protein release. The degradation profiles were characterized by measuring the loss of microsphere mass, the decrease of polymer intrinsic viscosity and the reduction of PEG content of PELA coat. The release profiles were investigated from the measurement of protein presented in the release medium at various intervals. The results were that the degradation rate of these core-coated microspheres was MS-2>MS-1>MS-3. The extent of burst release from the core-coated microspheres in the initial protein release was lower than the 27% burst release from the conventional microspheres. In conclusion, the work presents a new approach for macromolecular drugs (such as protein, peptide drugs) delivery. The core-coated microspheres system may have potential use as a carrier for drugs that are poorly absorbed after oral administration.