Purpose: To develop a stable freeze-dried formulation of recombinant factor VIII-SQ (r-VIII SQ) without the addition of albumin.
Methods: Different formulations were evaluated for their protective effect during sterile filtration, freeze-thawing, freeze-drying, reconstitution and long term storage. Factor VIII activity (VIII:C), visual inspection, clarity, solubility, moisture content and soluble aggregates and/ or fragments were assayed.
Results: A combination of non-crystallising excipients (L-histidine and sucrose), a non-ionic surfactant (polysorbate 80) and a crystalline bulking agent (sodium chloride) was found to preserve the factor VIII activity during formulation, freeze-drying and storage. Calcium chloride was included to prevent dissociation of the heavy and light chains of r-VIII SQ. Sodium chloride was chosen as the primary bulking agent since the concentration of sodium chloride necessary for dissolution of r-VIII SQ in the buffer will inhibit the crystallization of many potential cake formers. It was found that L-histidine, besides functioning as a buffer, also protected r-VIII SQ during freeze-drying and storage. A pH close to 7 was found to be optimal. Some potential macromolecular stabilisers, PEG 4000, Haes-steril and Haemaccel, were evaluated but they did not improve the recovery of VIII:C. The freeze-dried formulation was stable for at least two years at 7 degrees C and for at least one year at 25 degrees C. The reconstituted solution was stable for at least 100 hours at 25 degrees C.
Conclusions: The albumin-free formulation resulted in consistently high recovery of VIII:C, very low aggregate formation and good storage stability. The stability of the reconstituted solution makes the formulation suitable for continuous administration via infusion pump. The formulation strategy described here may also be useful for other proteins which require a high ionic strength.