Abstract A method for preparing colloidal particles formed by a magnetite nucleus and a biodegradable poly(DL-lactide) polymer coating is first described. The method is based on the so-called double-emulsion technique, employed to obtain polymeric spheres loaded with therapeutic drugs, to be used as drug delivery vectors. The aim of this work was to obtain, in a reproducible and rather simple way, colloidal particles that were both magnetic field responsive, and useful as drug delivery systems. In order to investigate to what extent is this target achieved, we compare the structure, chemical composition, and surface properties of the composite particles with those of the nucleus and the coating material. Although the surface properties of the magnetite core are not completely masked, this preliminary study shows that the synthetic new material displays a behavior intermediate between that of magnetite and poly(DL-lactide) spheres. Thus, electrophoresis measurements as a function of pH shows that the isoelectric point (pHiep=5.2) of core/shell colloids is in between those of magnetite (pHiep=7) and polymer (pHiep<2). A similar conclusion is reached when a surface thermodynamic study is performed on the three types of particles: the electron-donor component of the surface free energy of the solids is the quantity that appears to be most sensitive to the surface composition. The fact that poly(DL-lactide) is close to being a nonpolar material gives rise to a measurable decrease in the electron-donor component of the surface free energy, although the effect of coating is also observable in the electron-acceptor and the apolar van der Waals component.