Avascularity and hypoxia result in avascular necrosis and play a negative role in fracture healing. The FDA-approved iron chelating agent, desferoxamine (DFO) in a liquid form, has been shown to induce angiogenesis and improve fracture healing through upregulation of the vascular endothelial growth factor. We were concerned that local injection of DFO would either fail to adequately deliver sufficient drug to the desired site or lead to undesired delivery to adjacent sites. Therefore, a sustained release delivery system was desirable to direct DFO to the intended site. Calcium sulfate pellets, collagen sponges, and demineralized cortical bone matrix were all evaluated as potentially controlled release systems for DFO using a fetal mouse metatarsal angiogenesis assay. Angiogenesis was analyzed using a vascularity grading scale, by measuring the mean vessel length of the 5 longest vessels, and by counting the mean number of vessels per metatarsal. Although there was some evidence of angiogenesis with all three carriers, DFO loaded CaSO4 pellets increased vascularity grading, the mean length of the five longest vessels, and the mean number of vessels, all by statistically significant margins versus the control. These results suggest that CaSO4 pellets could be used as a viable, nontoxic, controlled release system for DFO in clinical situations where increased angiogenesis and bone growth are desirable. © The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.