Challenges in the development of high protein concentration formulations

J Pharm Sci. 2004 Jun;93(6):1390-402. doi: 10.1002/jps.20079.


Development of formulations for protein drugs requiring high dosing (in the order of mg/kg) may become challenging for solubility limited proteins and for the subcutaneous (SC) route with <1.5 mL allowable administration volume that requires >100 mg/mL protein concentrations. Development of high protein concentration formulations also results in several manufacturing, stability, analytical, and delivery challenges. The high concentrations achieved by small scale approaches used in preformulation studies would have to be confirmed with manufacturing scale processes and with representative materials because of the lability of protein conformation and the propensity to interact with surfaces and solutes which render protein solubilities that are dependent on the process of concentrating. The concentration dependent degradation route of aggregation is the greatest challenge to developing protein formulations at these higher concentrations. In addition to the potential for nonnative protein aggregation and particulate formation, reversible self-association may occur, which contributes to properties such as viscosity that complicates delivery by injection. Higher viscosity also complicates manufacturing of high protein concentrations by filtration approaches. Chromatographic and electrophoretic assays may not accurately determine the non-covalent higher molecular weight forms because of the dilutions that are usually encountered with these techniques. Hence, techniques must be used that allow for direct measurement in the formulation without substantial dilution of the protein. These challenges are summarized in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Humans
  • Proteins / chemical synthesis*
  • Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Solubility / drug effects
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods*


  • Proteins