Enabling Subcutaneous Delivery of Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies via Hydrogel Microparticles
Award last edited on: 2/13/2024

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Daniele Foresti

Company Information

AcousticaBio Inc

277 Broadway 1st Fl
Cambridge, MA 02139
   (617) 505-7980
Location: Single
Congr. District: 07
County: Middlesex

Phase I

Contract Number: 2023
Start Date: ----    Completed: 8/1/2023
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) provide unchallenged specificity compared to small molecules, representing a growing market of 150+ billion dollars. Due to their structural complexity and poor stability, however, they remain difficult to formulate at high concentrations, making intravenous (IV) delivery of mAbs the "gold standard". IV injections present major drawbacks, such as patient discomfort, long injection times, and high medical costs associated with in-hospital administration. Subcutaneous (SC) delivery is a convenient route of administration for large molecules, as it allows for rapid injections (seconds), requires minimal skills (self-injection), and allows for systemic delivery. It remains an open challenge to reformulate mAbs to a SC form. Most mAbs requires large dosage to be effective (>300 mg), and SC administration volumes are constrained to only 1-2 ml, hundreds of times smaller than typical IV formulations SC injections using hydrogel microparticles (HMP) offer a promising method for encapsulating and delivering protein-based drugs. The composition, size, and mechanical properties of HMPs can be widely tuned to facilitate their injection through needles for subcutaneous delivery. Alginate-based MP are becoming increasingly popular due to their rheological properties and high biocompatibility. Additionally, the anionic nature of alginate enables electrostatic entrapment of cationic proteins independently of the hydrogel porosity, making it a candidate for hydrogel-based antibody formulations. However, current manufacturing technologies are limited to low concentration of polymer (<5%), and low cargo loading, typically below 30 mg/ml for antibodies, resulting in inadequate mechanical and therapeutic properties. Through the support of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project, we aim at improving clinical care of millions of patients by reformulating IV-delivered mAbs to a SC form, meaning patients could administer their life saving drugs with reduced pain and discomfort, at a fraction of the cost. We plan to leverage Acoustophoretic Printing (AP) to generate alginate MP to stabilize highly concentrated mAbs formulation. This platform technology enables microparticle generation under modest shear forces without the need for a hydrophobic carrier fluid, thereby protecting the valuable cargo and minimizing contamination. The technology features: high bio-compatibility with no oil or surfactant required, making this technology particularly suitable for large proteins; high concentrations of cargo (>100mg/ml), including alginate (>10%); low particle size variation (coefficient of variation of 1-3%) reducing costly sieving steps, consistency in cargo encapsulation and delivery - hence significantly improving Good Manufacturing Practices - even at extreme loading. This project aims to: (1) Manufacture mAbs loaded hydrogel-based microparticles for SC delivery and characterize them in-vitro, including encapsulation efficiency, release profile, and injectability. (2) Conduct In vivo study to investigate safety, bioavailability, and bioactivity of the MP-based formulations in murine models.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
NARRATIVE Currently, millions of patients must travel to the hospital to endure painful, expensive, and time-consuming intravenous injections in order to receive their life-saving medications. The proposed project aims at overcoming barriers to existing formulations by reducing those large IV bags into highly concentrated, small volume injections that patients can self-administer from the comfort of their own home. This proprietary Acoustophoretic Printing technology addresses current microparticle production limitations enabling the generation of hydrogel-based microparticles that encapsulate and stabilize highly concentrated drugs, improving both standard of care and manufacturing practices.

Project Terms:
Phaeophyceae; Phaeophyta; Brown Algae; Alginates; Antibodies; Clinical Treatment Moab; mAbs; monoclonal Abs; Monoclonal Antibodies; Automobile Driving; driving; Biological Availability; Bioavailability; Physiologic Availability; Blood capillaries; capillary; Cells; Cell Body; Certification; Charge; Pharmaceutical Preparations; Drugs; Medication; Pharmaceutic Preparations; drug/agent; Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay; ELISA; enzyme linked immunoassay; Future; Hospital Administration; Hospital Management; Hospitals; Immunoglobulin G; 7S Gamma Globulin; IgG; In Vitro; intravenous injection; Subcutaneous Injections; subdermal injection; Ions; Marketing; Methods; Molecular Weight; Mus; Mice; Mice Mammals; Murine; Needles; Oils; Pain; Painful; Particle Size; Patients; Polymers; polymer; polymeric; Polysaccharides; Glycans; Printing; Production; Proteins; Safety; Self Administration; Self Administered; Specificity; Technology; Testing; Time; Travel; Viscosity; Generations; Measures; Injectable; medical costs; Medical Care Costs; bases; base; crosslink; dosage; improved; Surface; Clinical; Encapsulated; Phase; Variation; Variant; Blood Serum; Serum; Visual; Gravities; Force of Gravity; Therapeutic; fluid; liquid; Liquid substance; Intravenous; Nature; Electrostatics; Life; Mechanics; mechanic; mechanical; Frequencies; irritation; subcutaneous; subdermal; Route; meter; biomaterial compatibility; biocompatibility; fluid flow; particle; porous hydrogel; Hydrophobicity; Hydrogels; skills; bevacizumab; Anti-VEGF; Anti-VEGF Humanized Monoclonal Antibody; Anti-VEGF RhuMAb; MoAb VEGF; Monoclonal Antibody Anti-VEGF; Recombinant Humanized Anti-VEGF Monoclonal Antibody; Recombinant Humanized Monoclonal Antibody to Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor; RhuMAb VEGF; rhuMabVEGF; Sampling; Property; therapeutic protein; native protein drug; pharmaceutical protein; protein drug agent; protein-based drug; small molecule; monoclonal antibody production; Address; in vivo; Small Business Innovation Research Grant; SBIR; Small Business Innovation Research; Characteristics; Process; Development; developmental; cost; immunogenicity; designing; design; surfactant; Consumption; MAb Therapeutics; monoclonal antibody drugs; therapeutic mAbs; Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies; murine model; mouse model; clinical care; standard of care; in vitro testing; Formulation; mechanical properties; Injections; reduce pain; pain reduction; preservation; homes; Home; Diameter; Good Manufacturing Process; Good manufacturing practice; manufacture; manufacturing technology; fabrication technology; technology platform; technology system

Phase II

Contract Number: 1R43TR004761-01
Start Date: 7/31/2024    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount