Dextran Mass Ratio Controls Particle Drying Dynamics in a Thermally Stable Dry Powder Vaccine for Pulmonary Delivery Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    Thermally stable, spray dried vaccines targeting respiratory diseases are promising candidates for pulmonary delivery, requiring careful excipient formulation to effectively encapsulate and protect labile biologics. This study investigates the impact of dextran mass ratio and molecular weight on activity retention, thermal stability and aerosol behaviour of a labile adenoviral vector (AdHu5) encapsulated within a spray dried mannitol-dextran blend.


    Comparing formulations using 40 kDa or 500 kDa dextran at mass ratios of 1:3 and 3:1 mannitol to dextran, in vitro quantification of activity losses and powder flowability was used to assess suitability for inhalation.


    Incorporating mannitol in a 1:3 ratio with 500 kDa dextran reduced viral titre processing losses below 0.5 log and displayed strong thermal stability under accelerated aging conditions. Moisture absorption and agglomeration was higher in dextran-rich formulations, but under low humidity the 1:3 ratio with 500 kDa dextran powder had the lowest mass median aerodynamic diameter (4.4 µm) and 84% emitted dose from an intratracheal dosator, indicating strong aerosol performance.


    Overall, dextran-rich formulations increased viscosity during drying which slowed self-diffusion and favorably hindered viral partitioning at the particle surface. Reducing mannitol content also minimized AdHu5 exclusion from crystalline regions that can force the vector to air-solid interfaces where deactivation occurs. Although increased dextran molecular weight improved activity retention at the 1:3 ratio, it was less influential than the ratio parameter. Improving encapsulation ultimately allows inhalable vaccines to be prepared at higher potency, requiring less powder mass per inhaled dose and higher delivery efficiency.

publication date

  • September 2022