Team touts use of "glassified" proteins to improve biologics

Drying and preserving proteins in a "glassified" state could make the biologic workhorse easier to manage and deliver, according to a team of scientists at Duke University.

Duke engineer and chemist David Needham spearheaded the effort to develop new technology that sponges away most of the water around a protein. And Needham created a spinoff company--Biogyali--to commercialize their work.

The dehydration process that's used to process proteins into therapeutics creates a viscous material that can gum up a syringe. But the glassification process, in which proteins are turned into tiny glass-like beadlets, would be easier to deliver as well as package with polymers in a way that would influence bioavailability, slowing their release in the system.

The team is looking for new funding to test the new approach on three molecules. One of the molecules, known as O6-AMBG, "can help the cancer drug Temozolomide work better when infused into brain tumors. A second, Lapatinib, is designed to knock out other molecules that help cancer cells grow in the breast and elsewhere. The third, shepherdin, also targets breast cancers."

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