Comparing Freeze Drying and Spray Drying of Interleukins using Model Protein CXCL8 and its Variants

Daniela Fiedler, Sonja Hartl, Tanja Gerlza, Christina Trojacher, Andreas J. Kungl, Johannes Khinast, Eva Roblegg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spray-dried products, such as synthetic peptides and hormones, have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Agency and the European Medicines Agency, while spray-dried antibodies or interleukins, are not yet available on the market. Concerning the latter group, knowledge on whether and how spray-drying (SD) can be performed without adversely affecting their biological activity is lacking. Accordingly, this study aimed at establishing a SD process (Büchi B-90 spray dryer) using three Interleukin-8 based proteins (7–74 kDa) that were dispersed in phosphate buffered saline to maintain their stability. A Box-Behnken Design of Experiments was conducted to identify the appropriate process parameters taking into account the thermal stability of interleukin-8. In parallel, a FD process was developed. Both powders were stored for up to 12 weeks. Powder characterization included residual moisture evaluation and the mean particle size of the SD powder was investigated with Laser Diffraction Analysis. The hydrodynamic volume was measured via size exclusion chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The secondary structure of the model proteins in the solid state was assessed with Fourier-transformation infrared spectroscopy for detecting the protein folding patterns and reconstituted with Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy. Finally, the binding affinity was studied with Surface Plasmon Resonance and Isothermal Fluorescence Titration, the protein stability with Chaotropic Unfolding, and the activity studies were carried out with the chemotaxis assay. The results showed that SD and FD powders with a residual moisture of less than 5 wt% were obtained. The interleukins showed no unfolding upon processing, neither in solid state nor reconstituted. Oligomerization was observed for FD, but not for SD interleukins. However, the unfolding, binding affinity and activity of all interleukins examined did not decrease in neither SD nor FD powders, even after 12 weeks of storage. Thus, it can be concluded that SD of interleukin formulations at outlet temperatures close to ambient temperature is a promising process for transferring them into a stable powder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-165
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • freeze-drying
  • spray-drying
  • chemokines
  • Interleukin-8
  • storage stability
  • biological activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Cite this