Stabilizing Biologics

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Protein drugs are very unstable and generally must be stored in a dry state that requires a costly manufacturing process. Before being administered, they must be mixed in a solution, which can be problematic if the drug is to be administered in an emergency setting.

“What we are doing is trying to stabilize the protein in a liquid formulation, which can reduce manufacturing costs and help with aspects of drug administration ” Dr. Elliott said. “We have shown that some of the ionic liquids we have developed with our collaborators at Monash University in Australia can dramatically increase the temperature at which proteins unfold and lose their activity.”

So far, the research has established biocompatibility and increased protein stability in a number of ionic liquid-based formulations. The next phase of the research involves developing solution thermodynamics models to enable more rapid advances in formulation development, as well as moving forward on the clinical translation path.

“We are collaborating with Dr. Joanna Krueger, a protein biochemist in the Department of Chemistry on several model proteins,” Dr. Elliott said, “We are also working with Dr. Davide Foureau, and other investigators at Carolinas Medical Center to develop a stabilizing liquid formulation for a promising protein therapeutic used in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. If successful, this new formulation could dramatically reduce the cost and side-effects of this cancer treatment.”

For more information contact Dr. Elliott at