Evaluating and optimizing oral formulations of live bacterial vaccines using a gastro-small intestine model


João M.S. de Barros, Adele Costabile, Dimitrios Charalampopoulos, Vitaliy V. Khutoryanskiy, Alexander D. Edwards


Gastrointestinal (GI) models that mimic physiological conditions in vitro are important tools for developing and optimizing biopharmaceutical formulations. Oral administration of live attenuated bacterial vaccines (LBV) can safely and effectively promote mucosal immunity but new formulations are required that provide controlled release of optimal numbers of viable bacterial cells, which must survive gastrointestinal transit overcoming various antimicrobial barriers. Here, we use a gastro-small intestine gut model of human GI conditions to study the survival and release kinetics of two oral LBV formulations: the licensed typhoid fever vaccine Vivotif comprising enteric coated capsules; and an experimental formulation of the model vaccine Salmonella Typhimurium SL3261 dried directly onto cast enteric polymer films and laminated to form a polymer film laminate (PFL). Neither formulation released significant numbers of viable cells when tested in the complete gastro-small intestine model. The poor performance in delivering viable cells could be attributed to a combination of acid and bile toxicity plus incomplete release of cells for Vivotif capsules, and to bile toxicity alone for PFL. To achieve effective protection from intestinal bile in addition to effective acid resistance, bile adsorbent resins were incorporated into the PFL to produce a new formulation, termed BR-PFL. Efficient and complete release of 4.4 × 107 live cells per dose was achieved from BR-PFL at distal intestinal pH, with release kinetics controlled by the composition of the enteric polymer film, and no loss in viability observed in any stage of the GI model. Use of this in vitro GI model thereby allowed rational design of an oral LBV formulation to maximize viable cell release.


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