Avidin–poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) conjugates were obtained by derivatization of about 10% of the protein amino groups (four amino groups per protein molecule) with linear 5 kDa PEG or branched 10 or 20 kDa PEGs. Circular dichroism analysis showed that the polymer conjugation neither altered the protein structure nor the environment of the aromatic amino acids which are present at the level of the biotin binding site. Spectroscopic studies were carried out to evaluate the biotin recognition activity of the conjugates either in terms of number of biotin binding sites or avidin/biotin affinity. Avidin–PEG 5 kDa and avidin–PEG 10 kDa displayed over 90% of the native protein biological activity while a reduction in the recognition of biotinylated antibodies of about 25% was found with PEG 20 kDa. In vivo studies demonstrated that the protein immunogenicity was in the order: wild type avidin>avidin–PEG 5 kDa>avidin–PEG 10 kDa>avidin–PEG 20 kDa. By intravenous injection into mice bearing a solid tumor, all conjugates displayed prolonged permanence in the circulation with respect to the native protein. The area under the curve values of avidin–PEG 5 kDa, avidin–PEG 10 kDa and avidin–PEG 20 kDa were about 3-, 7- and 30-times higher than the wild type avidin with reduced accumulation in kidneys and liver. Interestingly, all conjugates accumulated significantly in the tumor mass. In particular, in the case of avidin–PEG 20 kDa, 8% of the injected dose (ID)/g of tissue accumulated in the tumor after 5 h from the administration and over 6% of the ID/g was maintained throughout 72 h.