Polysaccharide-based copolymers are promising biomaterials due to their biocompatibility and biodegradability. For potential biomedical applications the copolymer as a whole and all the degraded species must be biocompatible and easily removable from the system. In this regards, new model pH-responsive seaweed agarose (Agr) grafted with weak polyelectrolyte-based well-defined amphiphilic block copolymers ca. poly[(methyl methacrylate)-b-(2-dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)] (PMMA-b-PDMA) were designed and synthesized to study the self-assembly, degradation, and in vitro hydrophobic/hydrophilic drug release behavior. The graft copolymer solutions display extremely low critical micelle concentration (CMC) and form pH responsive stable micelles. The degradation study of the graft copolymer reveals that the entire degraded components are well soluble/dispersible in water due to formation of mixed micelles. The micelles are also strongly adsorbed on the mica surface owing to electrostatic interaction. One application of the graft copolymer micelles is that it can entrap both hydrophilic and poorly water soluble hydrophobic drugs effectively and exhibit slow release kinetics. The release kinetics of both the hydrophilic and poorly water soluble hydrophobic drugs change with pH as well as with the composition of the graft copolymer. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: , 2013.