Sustained-release multiparticulates for oral delivery of a novel peptidic ghrelin agonist: Formulation design and in vitro characterization

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There is an impetus to provide appropriate sustained release oral delivery vehicles to protect biofunctional peptide loads from gastric degradation in vivo. This study describes the generation of a high load capacity pellet formulation for sustained release of a freely water-soluble dairy-derived hydrolysate, FHI-2571. The activity of this novel peptidic ghrelin receptor agonist is reported using in vitro calcium mobilization assays. Conventional extrusion spheronization was then used to prepare peptide-loaded pellets which were subsequently coated with ethylcellulose (EC) film coats using a fluid bed coating system in bottom spray (Wurster) mode. Aqueous-based EC coating dispersions produced mechanically brittle coats which fractured due to osmotic pressure build-up within pellets in simulated media. In contrast, an ethanolic-based EC coating solution provided robust, near zero-order release in both USP Type 1 and Type 4 dissolution studies. Interestingly, the functionality of aqueous-based EC film coats was restored by first layering pellets with a methacrylic acid copolymer (MA) subcoat, thereby hindering pellet core swelling in acidic media. Broadband Acoustic Resonance Dissolution Spectroscopy (BARDS) was utilised as a complementary technique to confirm the results seen in USP dissolution studies. Retention of activity of the ghrelinergic peptide hydrolysate in the final encapsulated product was confirmed as being greater than 80%. The described pellet formulation is amenable to oral dosing in small animal studies in order to assess in vivo efficacy of the whey-derived ghrelinergic hydrolysate. In more general terms, it is also suitable as a delivery vehicle for peptide-based bioactives to special population groups e.g paediatric and geriatric.




Howick, K., Alam, R., Chruscicka, B., Kandil, D., Fitzpatrick, D., Ryan, A. M., … Griffin, B. T. (2018). Sustained-release multiparticulates for oral delivery of a novel peptidic ghrelin agonist: Formulation design and in vitro characterization. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 536(1), 63–72.

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