Applications

There are many uses for dry powders in today’s medicine, and with the significant research currently underway in biotechnology, traditional pharmaceuticals and universities, they will become even more prevalent in the near future.

Protein Based Pharmaceuticals

Proteins are complex bio-molecules responsible for a great number of functions in the human body.  Each protein has a specific task it must accomplish – signaling, regulation, transcription or structure, for example – and researchers have discovered that many diseases are related to defects in proteins.  For this reason, pharmaceutical companies have greatly expanded their research and development efforts on protein based pharmaceuticals in recent years.

Unfortunately a protein’s complex nature also makes it very fragile, a fact that requires it to be maintained in precise conditions to ensure its activity.  While freezing proteins in solution has been used, it is a costly proposition considering the many financial and logistical drawbacks of cold-chain storage.  A better alternative is to convert pharmaceuticals into a dry powder, where room temperature shelf stability can be maintained for years.  Traditional dry powder manufacturing methodologies, including lyophilization and spray drying, can be damaging to the proteins they are trying to protect.  ASFD is a gentler process and allows for greater flexibility during formulation.

Targeted and Systemic Delivery

Most traditional medicines are given orally, topically or by injection.  While dry powders can be used in these applications, they also can be inhaled into the lungs for targeted or systemic delivery.  

There are a vast number of targeted applications including the delivery of anti-inflammatory agents to the constricted airways of asthmatics, vaccines for the prevention of disease, or antibiotics to the site of infection in patients with pneumonia.  In all these cases the use of dry powders offer significant advantages compared to traditional medicine because the targeted delivery can lead to dose sparing and minimization of side-effects.  

The human lungs have a surface area roughly equal to that of a tennis court to aid in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide gas to and from the blood.  This fact, combined with the incredible perfusion of each alveolus, make the lungs an ideal location for the delivery of drugs whose target is the systemic circulation.  In addition, first pass elimination is avoided, potentially leading to dose minimization and a reduction in toxicity and side-effects.

The traditional dry powder manufacturing methods of lyophilization and spray drying do not produce particles with consistent aerodynamic properties amenable for targeted or systemic delivery.  With ASFD, engineered particles with consistent spherical shape and size mean more of the drug gets to its intended delivery location.  The ASFD particles also have high surface areas that allow them to dissolve fast before the body’s clearance mechanisms clear them from the system.

Self-Administration

The escalating cost of healthcare is driving a revolution in medicine.  More and more the patient is being asked to take an active role in their own health solution, including the delivery of pharmaceuticals.  Self-administration devices are empowering patients to take medicines that were once only available if administer by a trained healthcare worker.  Whether by inhalation, intranasal administration or reconstitution micro-infusion, self-administration devices are going to be a significant part of the drug delivery landscape.  ASFD particles are engineered specifically to meet the needs of the self-administration market and the next generation of self-administration devices.