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Design and Engineering of Biodegradable 3D Nanoprinted Microcarriers for HIV Drug Delivery

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AI167166-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AI167166
Amount: $604,218.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAID
Solicitation Number: PA20-265
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-08-31
Small Business Information
Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States
DUNS: 792088804
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (202) 251-4648
Business Contact
Phone: (202) 251-4648
Research Institution
Room 3112 Lee Building 7809 Regents Drive
COLLEGE PARK, MD 20742-0001
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Precise, customizable drug delivery remains a long-term goal, for HIV in particular, as such
technologies would allow therapies tailored to a patient’s biological makeup and potentially
improve adherence. Extended-release methods address part of the issue, but face limitations. A
novel drug delivery system could offer better pediatric dosing, via both oral and new routes of
administration. Existing extended-release methods are limited: industry standards for liquid-drug
microcarrier fabrication are restricted by manufacturing-induced constraints, including: (i) limited
micro-carrier geometries; (ii) undesired carrier-to-carrier variability; (iii) difficult means of
multidrug microcarrier production; and (iv) exceedingly impractical pathways to on-demand
modifications of microcarrier architectures and compositions. Rapid multi-material three-
dimensional (3D) nanoprinting of liquid-filled microcontainers offers the potential to revolutionize
the production of therapeutic microcarriers by addressing the aforementioned pain points via: (i)
unparalleled 3D versatility in microcarrier design, (ii) 100-nm-scale feature resolution, (iii) rapid,
multi-material production, and (iv) on-demand customization of each individual microcarrier.
Proof of concept has been demonstrated by printing 3D microcontainers the size of human
epithelial cells comprising standard (i.e., non-biological) photoresists encompassing an aqueous
fluid. The current focus is to engineer microcarriers based on biocompatible and biodegradable
materials, with microcarrier architectures composed of: (1) a biodegradable outer “shell” with an
orifice on top, (2) a core of (at least one) therapeutic liquid “payload”, and (3) a custom-designed
biodegradable “cap” atop the shell. At scale, this strategy could produce extended-release
microcarriers, with each cap design (and thus, biodegradation dynamics) offering distinct,
targeted release kinetics. Improved stability and non-accumulation are additional advantages.
The proposed multi-material microcarriers with design-based release properties bridge an
important need, especially for HIV. The innovation of liquid-filled microcarriers with tailor-made
architectures and compositions at this scale offers precision dosing and therapeutic options—
e.g., combination therapies and release rate controls—not otherwise achievable. The work will
investigate the proposed strategy for designing and engineering 3D multi-material microcarriers
for ultra-extended-release therapeutic uses.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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