Formulation of layered silicate-polymer composite particles for the potential oral delivery of biologics

   School of Pharmacy (Medway Campus)

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  Dr V Trivedi, Dr V Sumbayev  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Oral administration for pharmaceutical actives is the most convenient and preferred method of drug administration but it is challenging to develop oral delivery systems for biologics such as recombinant proteins, peptides, and vaccines. Biologics are large and complex molecules, that are extremely sensitive to the physical and chemical conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) environment. It is because of this sensitivity that, with a few exceptions, biologics are currently administered by injections.

This project aims to develop novel carrier particles capable of protecting biologics from acid and enzymatic degradation and improving the absorption by increasing the contact time with the absorptive epithelium. The developed particles must be able to satisfy the required enteric and mucoadhesive properties to achieve above stated goals. This study will include the development of composite particles using layered silicates such as natural or synthetic smectites and natural polymers such as alginate, gelatine, dextrin and glucomannan to obtain particles with required properties. The active will be encapsulated during or after the formulation of these particles and their suitability as potential oral delivery carriers will be examined. Furthermore, incorporation of mucolytic agents and/or cell penetration enhancer will also be studied to potentially improve the absorption of biologics through GI tract.

This project will involve formulation and physicochemical characterisation of developed carrier systems. The formulation of micro or nanoparticles will be based on our previous experience with similar systems where interaction between layered silicates and polymers at favourable conditions (pH, ionic strength and ratio) followed by crosslinking of the polymer results in highly stable and porous structures capable of adsorbing or encapsulating biologics within them. The developed particles will be evaluated via various analytical techniques including DSC, ATR-FTIR, SEM/TEM, BET and texture analysis. The efficacy of these particles as carrier systems will be evaluated by establishing drug encapsulation/adsorption capabilities and mucoadhesive properties. The stability of active will be evaluated after the incubation of active containing particle in various media emulating GI tract. The composite particles with most promising characteristics will then be used to develop the drug delivery system for the potential oral delivery of a pharmacologically active biologic.

This project will give applicant the opportunity to research into the highly important area of oral delivery of biologics and develop potentially clinically relevant drug-delivery technology capable of making oral administration of biologics a viable option by applying their knowledge of formulation and analytical science.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject and a Masters (at Merit or above) in Pharmaceutical Science or closely related subject.

How to Apply:

To apply, please go to:

You will need to apply through the online application form on the main University website. Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details, education and employment history and supporting documentation (curriculum vitae, transcript of results, two academic references). You are not required to submit a research proposal.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This project is a self-funded opportunity available to both Home/EU and International students. Applicant must have access to funding to cover tuition fees, living costs and any related project costs (i.e. bench fees).


1. Trivedi, V., Bhomia, R., Mitchell, J.C. Myristic acid coated protein immobilised mesoporous silica particles as pH induced oral delivery system for the delivery of biomolecules. Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12, 153.

2. Ajiboye, A.L., Trivedi V., Mitchell, J.C. Mesoporous silica particles as potential carriers for protein drug delivery: protein immobilization and the effect of displacer on γ-globulin release. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy 2020, 46 (4), 576-586.

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