J Pharm Sci 2018 10 5;107(10):2544-2558. Epub 2018 Jun 5.
Macromolecule and Vaccine Stabilization Center, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas, 2030 Becker Drive, Lawrence, Kansas 66047. Electronic address:
The zoonotic equine encephalitis viruses (EEVs) can cause debilitating and life-threatening disease, leading to ongoing vaccine development efforts for an effective virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine based on 3 strains of EEV (Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan or EEE, WEE and VEE VLPs, respectively). In this work, transmission electron microscopy and light scattering studies showed enveloped, spherical, and ∼70 nm sized VLPs. Biophysical studies demonstrated optimal VLP physical stability in the pH range of 7.5-8.5 and at temperatures below ∼50°C. Interestingly, the individual stability profiles differed notably between the 3 VLPs. Numerous pharmaceutical excipients were screened for their VLP stabilizing effects against thermal stress. Sucrose, sorbitol, sodium chloride, and pluronic F-68 were identified as promising stabilizers and the concentrations and combinations of these additives were optimized. Candidate monovalent VLP bulk formulations were incubated at temperatures ranging from -80°C to 40°C to establish freeze-thaw, long-term (2°C-8°C) and accelerated stability trends. Good VLP stability profiles were observed at each storage temperature, except for a distinct instability observed at -20°C. The interaction of monovalent and trivalent VLP formulations with aluminum adjuvants was examined, both in terms of antigen adsorption and desorption over time. The implications of these findings on future vaccine formulation development of EEV VLPs are discussed.
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