Pilot-scale production of expansile nanoparticles: Practical methods for clinical scale-up

Aaron H. Colby, Rong Liu, Robert P. Doyle, Alyssa Merting, Heng Zhang, Natasha Savage, Ngoc Quynh Chu, Beth A. Hollister, William McCulloch, Joanna E. Burdette, Cedric J. Pearce, Kebin Liu, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Yolonda L. Colson, Mark W. Grinstaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


One of the foremost challenges in translating nanoparticle technologies to the clinic is the requirement to produce materials on a large-scale. Scaling nanoparticle production methods is often non-trivial, and the success of these endeavors is frequently governed by whether or not an intermediate level of production, i.e., “pilot-scale” production, can be achieved. Pilot-scale production at the one-liter scale serves as a proof-of-concept that large-scale production will be possible. Here, we describe the pilot-scale production of the expansile nanoparticle (eNP) technology including verification of activity and efficacy following scaleup. We describe the challenges of sonication-based emulsification procedures and how these were overcome by use of a Microfluidizer technology. We also describe the problem-solving process that led to pre-polymerization of the nanoparticle polymer—a fundamental change from the lab-scale and previously published methods. Furthermore, we demonstrate good control over particle diameter, polydispersity and drug loading and the ability to sterilize the particles via filtration using this method. To facilitate long-term storage of these larger quantities of particles, we investigated six lyoprotectants and determined that sucrose is the most compatible with the current system. Lastly, we demonstrate that these changes to the manufacturing method do not adversely affect the swelling functionality of the particles, their highly specific localization to tumors, their non-toxicity in vivo or their efficacy in treating established intraperitoneal mesothelioma xenografts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Sep 10 2021


  • Clinical translation
  • Expansile nanoparticle
  • Microfluidizer
  • Pilot-scale production
  • Scale-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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