Parenteral Drug Delivery

The administration of drugs by injection into the fat tissue under the skin (subcutaneous injection) is widely used in clinical medicine today. It's the most commonly used administration for biomolecular drugs with limited oral bioavailability and for therapies requiring continuous and robust delivery at low dose rate.

Examples of such compounds are insulin, growth hormones and vaccines. Ultimately the developed products should be  sufficiently user friendly to be administered by the patients themselves. However, to reach this level of product maturity, a number of drug delivery challenges need to be overcome.

Gaps in our understanding of subcutaneous formulations that have been identified by SweDeliver relate to self-assembly of amphiphilic molecules (e.g. peptides) in drug formulations as well as the assessment of formulation performance once it is administered subcutaneously. The parenteral work package draws on the scientific expertise on self-aggregation and molecular interactions at the pharmaceutical physical chemistry group at Uppsala University.


Amphiphilic drug molecules are active substances in many medicals used to treat common diseases such as cancer, depression, and high blood pressure. Many of them are very toxic and it is a challenge to ensure that the optimal dose is delivered to the target organ without systemic spreading. Poor understanding of drug self-assembly is one overlooked factor contributing to the fact that many drug candidates are ruled out at an early stage during development.

In this project we use a combination of powerful experimental methods and theoretical modelling approaches to provide information about the amphiphilic properties of small drug molecules. The purpose is to provide a ground for the development of new and improved drug delivery systems from a fundamental understanding of their self-assembling properties in solutions and polymer gels, as well as their interaction with lipids, surfactants and proteins.

PERformance assessment OF FORMULATIONS

In one project we develop and test a novel in vitro method to model the behaviour of pharmaceuticals administered subcutaneously. By constructing a physiologically realistic model of the extracellular matrix, we will mimic in vitro the fate of different types of drug formulations after administration in humans. In another project we investigate how active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients in subcutaneously administered drug formulations interact with the components in the extracellular matrix.

The purpose of both projects is to facilitate the development of formulations with high bioavailability of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and small variability between patients with special focus on pharmaceutical products based on biomacromolecules.

Read about Projects in the Parenteral Drug Delivery Work package