An overview of the research at the Biologics Formulation group
We are using a wide variety of analytical techniques to support these studies, including separation (e.g. HPLC, asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation), spectroscopic (e.g. fluorescence, circular dichroism), light scattering (e.g. dynamic and static light scattering) and particle characterization (e.g. flow imaging microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, resonant mass measurement) techniques.
Another major challenge with biopharmaceuticals is their delivery. In most cases, the size, hydrophilic nature and instability of this class of drugs precludes the oral route as an efficient way to reach target sites. Therefore, biopharmaceuticals are usually administered parenterally via needle injection or infusion. For vaccines, it is clear that the administration route and subsequent targeting to the immune system strongly influence their safety and efficacy. We are exploring methods and formulations to deliver vaccines via the skin and mucosal routes in preclinical models. We use antigen-loaded nanoparticles to target antigens to different compartments of the immune system and to induce the desired type of immune response (e.g. humoral, cellular, tolerogenic), depending on the disease to prevent (e.g. infectious diseases) or to treat (e.g. allergy, atherosclerosis, cancer).