This Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) project focuses on the development of a new platform manufacturing process for large-scale preparation of monodispersed polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) suitable for biomedical applications through the use of a large-scale fiber fluidic system. Although laboratory processes for reproducible synthesis of polymeric particles through emulsion and nanoprecipitation methods have matured, the development of suitable methods for synthesis of such monodispersed NPs in the scales required for commercialization has not been achieved. The proposed system aims to meet this need by providing a versatile, rugged and easily scalable process that can be used for continuous manufacture of polymeric NPs in a small footprint. After seeing our preliminary data, David Nowotnik, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Access Pharmaceuticals wrote: "A process that could be used in the lab to make monodisperse nanoparticles for medical applications would be useful. One that could easily be scaled to pilot plant and manufacturing would be extremely useful to Access and the industry...this project has significant potential for the development of a new value added nanoparticle manufacturing process for industry." The main objectives of the Phase I project will be to: (1) build a Phase I fiber fluidic system prototype, (2) develop methods for the preparation of a variety of polymeric NPs relevant to biomedical applications utilizing this prototype, (3) optimize process parameters to improve throughput and control over NP size and monodispersity, and (4) prepare for Phase II by identifying parameters where optimization will be required, performing thorough market analysis, and establishing partnership with potential customers. To achieve these aims, the team will utilize the proposed fiber fluidic system for the preparation of hydrophobic, core-shell, and hydrogel-type polymeric NPs via nanoprecipitation and emulsion polymerization methods utilizing a number of monomeric and polymeric precursors including acrylamide, N-isopropyl acrylamide, poly(lactic- co-glycolic acid), and poly(lactic acid)-b-poly(ethylene glycol). A select number of formulations will then be optimized to achieve maximal production rates while maintaining optimal control over NP size and monodispersity. NP formulations will be characterized via dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy. Completion of Phase I aims will demonstrate the versatility and benefits of the proposed manufacturing technology in terms of throughput and process control compared to batch processes, while pointing out the main aspects of process optimization required for successful commercialization. Successful completion of this project will result in a low-cost, highly throughput, and commercially viable process for manufacture of particles with applications in biotechnology, biomedical research, and pharmaceutical fields as precursors for nanocomposites, coatings, porogens in biosepartion gels, drug delivery systems, and contrast agents. We will work with Access and other potential customers to identify optimal methods for adoption of this manufacturing technology into existing and planned facilities.
Nanoparticle-based technologies promise to revolutionize clinical practice by providing new diagnostic, therapeutic, and theranostic strategies that offer higher efficacy, bioavailability, individualization, and safety. The proposed project aims to provide a versatile platform process that can be used for continuous manufacture of a range of polymeric nanoparticles at the scale required for successful implementation. Successful completion of this project will result in a low- cost, high throughput, and commercially viable process for manufacture of nanoparticles with applications in biotechnology, biomedical research, and pharmaceutical fields.