Inhalable siRNA-loaded nano-embedded microparticles engineered using microfluidics and spray drying
Medicines based on small interfering RNA (siRNA) are promising for the treatment of a number of lung diseases. However, efficient delivery systems and design of stable dosage forms are required for inhalation therapy, as well as cost-effective methods for manufacturing of the final product. In this study, a 3D-printed micromixer was used for preparation of siRNA-dendrimer nanocomplexes, which were subsequently processed into microparticle-based dry powders for inhalation using spray drying. By applying the disposable micromixer, nanocomplexes were prepared of an average hydrodynamic diameter comparable to that of nanocomplexes prepared by manual mixing, but with narrower size distribution and low batch-to-batch variation. The nanocomplexes were processed into nanoembedded microparticles using different saccharide excipients. Data showed that siRNA integrity and bioactivity are retained after processing, and nanocomplexes could be reconstituted from the dry powders. The amorphous saccharide excipients trehalose and inulin provided better stabilization than crystalline mannitol, and they enabled full reconstitution of the nanocomplexes. In particular, a binary mixture of trehalose and inulin showed optimal stabilization, and enhanced cellular uptake and gene silencing efficiency. This study demonstrates that inexpensive and scalable micromixers can be used to optimize the production of siRNA-dendrimer nanocomplexes, and they can be applied in combination with spray drying for the engineering of dry powder formulations suitable for delivery of siRNA to the therapeutic target site.