This overall goal of this project is to develop a scalable process for fabricating oil encapsulated particles with uniform sizes and physical characteristics that contain oil as a vehicle for delivering hydrophobic drugs. Poorly water soluble active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) represent 40% of all new chemical entities discovered by the pharmaceutical industry, but investigators often discard them in the R&D phase because their insolubility renders them difficult to formulate, which translates to low and/or variable bioavailability and effectiveness in vivo. Solubility problems also decrease the efficacy of a significant portion of products on the market, including many pain relievers and antibiotics. Our novel Precision Particle Fabrication (PPF) technology is a flexible, single-step process for fabricating oil-containing particles with finely tuned sizes and physicochemical characteristics that enable improved control over drug encapsulation and release. We hypothesize that a scaled version of this technology will produce dried, oil-filled microcapsules (size <100 5m) at a rate of at least 10 kg/min, more than adequate for industry needs. Phase I research will demonstrate the feasibility of scaling PPF technology for broad use by pharmaceutical companies. Our research team will develop several scaled prototypes of the existing PPF technology to meet a range of varying microcapsule specifications (Aim 1). We will also integrate the technology with current Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines given by the FDA (Aim 2) and design a monitoring mechanism and fluid recycling for the process to decrease material waste (Aim 3). Successful scaling of the PPF technology for drug delivery will improve the biological performance of existing pharmaceutical products and enable production of new therapeutic solutions using APIs previously discarded in the drug development process.
Development of effective delivery mechanisms for pharmaceutical products is just as important as the drugs themselves for treatment of disease. However, pharmaceutical companies have yet to discover a reliable, scalable process for consistently fabricating drug particles with controlled physical properties and release profiles. This project aims to test the feasibility of expanding a novel method for fabricating particles with well-defined and tunable properties from the laboratory setting to the broader marketplace by leveraging encapsulated oil as a delivery vehicle for poorly- soluble drugs.