Pulmonary Drug Delivery

Pulmonary drug delivery is essential for local administration of drugs to the lung to treat or prevent diseases such as bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary decease and cystic fibrosis. This route is also useful for systemic administration and has the potential to deliver biopharmaceuticals such as insulin, vaccines and growth hormones.

SweDeliver focuses on the following gaps in our understanding of pulmonary drug delivery: how novel excipients can be used to improve the stability and performance of inhalation powders prepared by spray drying and powder mechanics of adhesive mixtures useful for inhalation. The pulmonary drug delivery work package draws on the strong scientific expertise on particle performance within the pharmaceutical technology and pharmaceutical physics groups at Uppsala University.


A versatile formulation platform is needed to transform new drugs, often of biological origin, into safe and efficacious inhaled medicines. Spray drying is a promising technique that in a single step converts a solution or suspension of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and one or more excipients into dry particles suitable for inhalation.

Although the technique is gentle enough to retain the biological activity of macromolecules, the produced particles tend to be sensitive. The overall purpose of this project is to use novel excipients to improve the physical and chemical stability of inhalation powders, as well as their aerosolization performance.


A challenge when formulating dry powders for delivery to the lungs is that the small particle size (<5 µm) required for deep lung deposition would result in a highly cohesive powder that would be demanding to handle during manufacturing and difficult to disperse during administration unless special measures are taken. The most common remedy is to formulate the powder as an adhesive mixture, in which the micronized drug particles are attached to considerably larger carrier particles that are used to impart the desired flowability and dispersability to the powder.

The aim of this project is to deliver a fundamental understanding of the factors that control the powder mechanics of such adhesive mixtures. To this end, experimental studies of carefully designed model systems are complemented by particle-dynamics and multiscale modelling approaches.

Read about Projects in the Pulmonary Drug Delivery Work package

Last modified: 2023-11-16