Optimizing novel implant formulations for the prolonged release of biopharmaceuticals using in vitro and in vivo imaging techniques

J Control Release. 2016 Aug 10:235:352-364. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.06.013. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


As a rapidly growing class of therapeutics, biopharmaceuticals have conquered the global market. Despite the great potential from a therapeutic perspective, such formulations often require frequent injections due to their short half-life. Aiming to establish a parenteral dosage form with prolonged release properties, a biodegradable implant was developed, based on a combination of nanoencapsulation of protein-heparin complexes, creation of a slow release matrix by freeze-drying, and compression using hyaluronan and methylcellulose. In order to investigate this novel delivery system, formulations containing IFN-β-1a and trypsinogen as model proteins were developed. No degradation of the proteins was observed at any stage of the formulation processing. The potential of the delivery system was evaluated in vivo and in vitro after fluorescence-labeling of the biopharmaceuticals. An optimized agarose gel was utilized as in vitro release medium to simulate the subcutaneous environment in a biorelevant manner. In addition, the formulations were administered to female SJL mice and release was innovatively tracked by fluorescence imaging, setting up an in vitro-in vivo correlation. A prolonged time of residence of approximately 12days was observed for the selected formulation design.

Keywords: Freeze-drying; IFN; IVIVC; Implant; Interferon-β; Sustained release.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage
  • Anticoagulants / chemistry*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry
  • Drug Implants / administration & dosage
  • Drug Implants / chemistry*
  • Drug Liberation
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / administration & dosage
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Interferon beta-1a / administration & dosage
  • Interferon beta-1a / chemistry*
  • Methylcellulose / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Optical Imaging
  • Sepharose / chemistry
  • Trypsinogen / administration & dosage
  • Trypsinogen / chemistry*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Implants
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Trypsinogen
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Methylcellulose
  • Heparin
  • Sepharose
  • Interferon beta-1a