Research Fellows Directory
Professor Andrew Dove
University of Warwick
The project aims to study the development of a new generation of degradable polymer microparticles for the delivery of biological therapeutics such as proteins or peptide-based drugs (biologics) that are sensitive to degradation within the body. While encapsulation within polymeric scaffolds such as microparticles or foams enables their protection, many biologics also suffer from the requirement for frequent administration. Their encapsulation in biodegradable polymeric materials is one potential route to reduce the frequency of administration through the formation of sustained release formulations that control the release of the therapeutic as the polymer degrades thus reducing repeated administrations and hence ensuring greater patient compliance and less painful administrations.
The encapsulation process presents many challenges, most notably the incompatibility of the polymer and biological molecule. Critical Pharmaceuticals have developed a process for the encapsulation of biologics in polymeric materials using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) that liquefies polymers in the absence of added solvents at temperatures and pressures that do not irreversibly damage biologics. In turn, this process is ideal for encapsulating biologics. This project is focussed on the evaluation of specifically-designed polymers with controllable side chain functional groups to investigate the effects of polymer structure on degradation profile/drug release rate as well as stabilization of the biologic. In turn we aspire to enable delivery of sensitive pharmaceuticals in longer term delivery strategies that would benefit the patients by requiring less administrations. In the last year, progress on the project has stalled due to inconsistencies in the repeatability of the previous highly promising results. These inconsistencies, in combination with the challenging economic climate have led to a significant reduction in interest in this technology from the industrial partner.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)