The aim of targeted drug delivery is to achieve a desired pharmacological response at a selected site. This is particularly important in chemotherapy, since it improves efficacy and lessens the side effects. Through delivery of the API to its target site, the overall toxicity as well as the dose required to produce the desired effect are reduced.
One of the key parameters to achieve targeted delivery is the ability to control the size of the drug delivery system. The targeting of tumor tissues usually requires particles in the range of 100-200 nm, whereas particles of 1-5 microns are required to target the immune system. Both size ranges can be achieved with microfluidics.
Targeted delivery with microspheres
The interest in drug delivery systems in the range of 0.7-5 microns, which can target and activate the immune system, is increasing. Using conventional technologies this particular size range is difficult to achieve. Especially when a very narrow particle size distribution is required to increase the specificity of targeting.
Extremely uniform microspheres in the range of 1-5 microns can be produced using droplet based microfluidics. The drawback of this approach is the low through-put, which has been solved by Emultech’s technology platform. High precision in microchannel fabrication paired with IP protected know-how on parallelization ensures the production of these uniform microspheres at scale.
Targeted delivery with polymeric nanoparticles
Polymeric nanoparticles can be produced in microfluidic channels through hydrodynamic flow focussing. Here, a solution of polymer and API in a water miscible organic solvent flows at a lower flow rate within an outer aqueous fluid with a higher flow rate.
The resulting compression of the central flow significantly decreases mixing times through reduction of diffusion length. The fast mixing, which is controlled by the ratio of the flow rates, improves the quality of the synthesized polymeric nanoparticles as compared to conventional nanoprecipitation methods. The sizes of the nanoparticles are as well fine-tuned by the flow rate ratio of the two miscible fluids.