Drug Delivery and Biophysics of Biopharmaceuticals
2100 København Ø
Janni Støvring Mortensen is currently a PhD fellow at the Department of Pharmacy at Copenhagen University. She is holding a master's degree in Pharmacy from University of Copenhagen.
The Ph.D. project is entitled "Mucus as Permeability Barrier to Peptide Drug Delivery"
The demand for peptide and protein therapeutics (biopharmaceuticals) that can be used without injection is increasing. However, due to the structural properties of such biopharmaceuticals, it is extremely challenging to design drug delivery systems (DDS) suitable for efficient delivery of therapeutic doses of e.g., peptides after oral administration. Novel DDS must be tailored to meet the physicochemical properties of the specific drug molecules and the functional excipients to overcome the mucosal barrier exposed to the DDS after oral administration. The intestinal mucosal barrier is comprised of an epithelial layer that is protected by a viscous gel layer (mucus). To be able to develop new biopharmaceuticals and DDS it is essential to understand the interactions of the biopharmaceuticals and DDS with the mucosal barrier and thus trustworthy in vivo/vitro like models are needed. The goal of the project is to increase the knowlegde of mucus as a barrier for peptide drug delivery to be able to utilize the dynamics of the mucosal barrier for increased oral drug delivery. The hypothesis is that the specific mechanisms governing the mucus/mucosal dynamics can be utilized to increase the transport (and thus the delivery) of designed peptide drugs and/or drug delivery systems into and across the mucus barrier. This will relate to investigating and modulating the diffusion through the mucus matrix. Thus, understanding the true properties of the mucus barrier – and the dynamics hereof – is of crucial importance for the development and utilization of specific and safe functional excipients that may be used in drug delivery systems intended for e.g., oral administration of peptide drugs.