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Mol Pharm ; 19(6): 1892-1905, 2022 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860276


Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are the leading technology for RNA delivery, given the success of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA (mRNA) vaccines, and small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapies (patisiran). However, optimization of LNP process parameters and compositions for larger RNA payloads such as self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), which can have complex secondary structures, have not been carried out. Furthermore, the interactions between process parameters, critical quality attributes (CQAs), and function, such as protein expression and cellular activation, are not well understood. Here, we used two iterations of design of experiments (DoE) (definitive screening design and Box-Behnken design) to optimize saRNA formulations using the leading, FDA-approved ionizable lipids (MC3, ALC-0315, and SM-102). We observed that PEG is required to preserve the CQAs and that saRNA is more challenging to encapsulate and preserve than mRNA. We identified three formulations to minimize cellular activation, maximize cellular activation, or meet a CQA profile while maximizing protein expression. The significant parameters and design of the response surface modeling and multiple response optimization may be useful for designing formulations for a range of applications, such as vaccines or protein replacement therapies, for larger RNA cargoes.

COVID-19 , Nanoparticles , Amino Alcohols , COVID-19/therapy , Caprylates , Decanoates , Humans , Liposomes , Nanoparticles/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Small Interfering
Mol Pharm ; 19(4): 1047-1058, 2022 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1721386


The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic launched an unprecedented global effort to rapidly develop vaccines to stem the spread of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines were developed quickly by companies that were actively developing mRNA therapeutics and vaccines for other indications, leading to two mRNA vaccines being not only the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to be approved for emergency use but also the first mRNA drugs to gain emergency use authorization and to eventually gain full approval. This was possible partly because mRNA sequences can be altered to encode nearly any protein without significantly altering its chemical properties, allowing the drug substance to be a modular component of the drug product. Lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology required to protect the ribonucleic acid (RNA) and mediate delivery into the cytoplasm of cells is likewise modular, as are technologies and infrastructure required to encapsulate the RNA into the LNP. This enabled the rapid adaptation of the technology to a new target. Upon the coattails of the clinical success of mRNA vaccines, this modularity will pave the way for future RNA medicines for cancer, gene therapy, and RNA engineered cell therapies. In this review, trends in the publication records and clinical trial registrations are tallied to show the sharp intensification in preclinical and clinical research for RNA medicines. Demand for the manufacturing of both the RNA drug substance (DS) and the LNP drug product (DP) has already been strained, causing shortages of the vaccine, and the rise in development and translation of other mRNA drugs in the coming years will exacerbate this strain. To estimate demand for DP manufacturing, the dosing requirements for the preclinical and clinical studies of the two approved mRNA vaccines were examined. To understand the current state of mRNA-LNP production, current methods and technologies are reviewed, as are current and announced global capacities for commercial manufacturing. Finally, a vision is rationalized for how emerging technologies such as self-amplifying mRNA, microfluidic production, and trends toward integrated and distributed manufacturing will shape the future of RNA manufacturing and unlock the potential for an RNA medicine revolution.

COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Liposomes , Nanoparticles , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics