Rapid scale-up and production of active-loaded PEGylated liposomes

Roces, Carla B. and Port, Emily Charlotte and Daskalakis, Nikolaos N. and Watts, Julie A. and Aylott, Jonathan and Halbert, Gavin and Perrie, Yvonne (2020) Rapid scale-up and production of active-loaded PEGylated liposomes. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 586. 119566. ISSN 0378-5173 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2020.119566)

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Manufacturing of liposomal nanomedicines (e.g. Doxil®/Caelyx®) is a challenging and slow process based on multiple-vessel and batch processing techniques. As a result, the translation of these nanomedicines from bench to bedside has been limited. Microfluidic-based manufacturing offers the opportunity to address this issue, and de-risk the wider adoption of nanomedicines. Here we demonstrate the applicability of microfluidics for continuous manufacturing of PEGylated liposomes encapsulating ammonium sulfate (250 mM). Doxorubicin was subsequently active-loaded into these pre-formed liposomes. Critical process parameters and material considerations demonstrated to influence the liposomal product attributes included solvent selection and lipid concentration, flow rate ratio, and temperature and duration used for drug loading. However, the total flow rate did not affect the liposome product characteristics, allowing high production speeds to be adopted. The final liposomal product comprised of 80–100 nm vesicles (PDI < 0.2) encapsulating ≥ 90% doxorubicin, with matching release profiles to the innovator product and is stable for at least 6 months. Additionally, vincristine and acridine orange were active-loaded into these PEGylated liposomes (≥ 90% and ~100 nm in size) using the same process. These results demonstrate the ability to produce active-loaded PEGylated liposomes with high encapsulation efficiencies and particle sizes which support tumour targeting.