Bridging laboratory and large scale production: preparation and in vitro-evaluation of photosensitizer-loaded nanocarrier devices for targeted drug delivery

Pharm Res. 2015 May;32(5):1714-26. doi: 10.1007/s11095-014-1569-y. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Purpose: Industrial production of nanosized drug delivery devices is still an obstacle to the commercialization of nanomedicines. This study encompasses the development of nanoparticles for peroral application in photodynamic therapy, optimization according to the selected product specifications, and the translation into a continuous flow process.

Methods: Polymeric nanoparticles were prepared by nanoprecipitation of Eudragit® RS 100 in presence and in absence of glycofurol. The photosensitizer temoporfin has been encapsulated into these carrier devices. Process parameters were optimized by means of a Design of Experiments approach and nanoparticles with optimal characteristics were manufactured by using microreactor technology. The efficacy was determined by means of cell culture models in A-253 cells.

Results: Physicochemical properties of nanoparticles achieved by nanoprecipitation from ethanolic solutions were superior to those obtained from a method based upon glycofurol. Nanoencapsulation of temoporfin into the matrix significantly reduced toxicity of this compound, while the efficacy was maintained. The release profiles assured a sustained release at the site of action. Finally, the transfer to continuous flow technology was achieved.

Conclusion: By adjusting all process parameters, a potent formulation for application in the GI tract was obtained. The essential steps of process development and scale-up were part of this formulation development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Mesoporphyrins / administration & dosage*
  • Mesoporphyrins / pharmacokinetics
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polymethacrylic Acids / chemistry*


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Mesoporphyrins
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Polymethacrylic Acids
  • methylmethacrylate-methacrylic acid copolymer
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • temoporfin
  • glycofurol