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      Subcutaneous Delivery of High-Dose/Volume Biologics: Current Status and Prospect for Future Advancements

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          Subcutaneous (SC) delivery of biologics has traditionally been limited to fluid volumes of 1–2 mL, with recent increases to volumes of about 3 mL. This injection volume limitation poses challenges for high-dose biologics, as these formulations may also require increased solution concentration in many cases, resulting in high viscosities which can affect the stability, manufacturability, and delivery/administration of therapeutic drugs. Currently, there are technologies that can help to overcome these challenges and facilitate the delivery of larger amounts of drug through the SC route. This can be achieved either by enabling biologic molecules to be formulated or delivered as high-concentration injectables (>100 mg/mL for antibodies) or through facilitating the delivery of larger volumes of fluid (>3 mL). The SC Drug Delivery and Development Consortium, which was established in 2018, aims to identify and address critical gaps and issues in the SC delivery of high-dose/volume products to help expand this delivery landscape. Identified as a high priority out of the Consortium’s eight problem statements, it highlights the need to shift perceptions of the capabilities of technologies that enable the SC delivery of large-volume (>3 mL) and/or high-dose biologics. The Consortium emphasizes a patient-focused approach towards the adoption of SC delivery of large-volume/high-concentration dosing products to facilitate the continued expansion of the capabilities of novel SC technologies. To raise awareness of the critical issues and gaps in high-dose/volume SC drug development, this review article provides a generalized overview of currently available and emerging technologies and devices that could facilitate SC delivery of high-dose/volume drug formulations. In addition, it discusses the challenges, gaps, and future outlook in high-dose/volume SC delivery as well as potential solutions to exploit the full value of the SC route of administration.

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          Most cited references 66

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          Preference for subcutaneous or intravenous administration of trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (PrefHer): an open-label randomised study.

          Subcutaneous trastuzumab has shown non-inferior efficacy and a similar pharmacokinetic and safety profile when compared with intravenous trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. We assessed patient preference for either subcutaneous or intravenous trastuzumab in the international, randomised PrefHer study. Eligible patients were women aged 18 years or older with HER2-positive, histologically confirmed primary invasive breast adenocarcinoma, no evidence of residual, locally recurrent, or metastatic disease after completion of surgery and chemotherapy (neoadjuvant or adjuvant), an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, and a baseline left-ventricular ejection fraction of 55% or more before the first dose of trastuzumab. Radiotherapy or hormone therapy was allowed. Patients were randomised (randomly permuted blocks of four) to receive four cycles of 600 mg fixed-dose subcutaneous adjuvant trastuzumab via a single-use injection device or hand-held syringe followed by four cycles of standard intravenous trastuzumab, or the reverse sequence. Randomisation was stratified by de-novo versus non-de-novo use of intravenous trastuzumab. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients indicating an overall preference for subcutaneous or intravenous trastuzumab, assessed by patient interview in the evaluable intention-to-treat (ITT) population (patients who completed both interviews and had at least one administration of both subcutaneous and intravenous trastuzumab). Data collection for PrefHer is ongoing. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01401166. 124 patients were randomly allocated to receive subcutaneous followed by intravenous trastuzumab, and 124 to receive the reverse sequence. 117 patients in the subcutaneous first group and 119 in the intravenous first group were included in the evaluable ITT population. Subcutaneous trastuzumab via the single-use injection device was preferred by 216 patients (91·5%, 95% CI 87·2-94·7; p<0·0001). Only 16 patients preferred intravenous trastuzumab (6·8%, 3·9-10·8), and four had no preference (1·7%, 0·5-4·3). Clinician-reported adverse events occurred in 141 of 242 (58%) patients during the pooled subcutaneous periods and 105 of 241 (44%) patients during the pooled intravenous periods; seven (3%) and five (2%) were grade 3, no patients had a grade 4 or 5 event. The most common grade 3 adverse event was influenza (two [0·8%] patients). Patient preference and safety results from PrefHer, combined with the known non-inferior efficacy and pharmacokinetic and safety profile data, suggest that a fixed dose of 600 mg trastuzumab administered subcutaneously every 3 weeks is a validated, well tolerated treatment option for HER2-positive breast cancer, and is the preferred treatment of patients. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Recombinant human hyaluronidase (rHuPH20): an enabling platform for subcutaneous drug and fluid administration.

             G Frost (2007)
            The extracellular matrix is a significant barrier to the effective subcutaneous delivery of many drugs, limiting both pharmacokinetic parameters and injection volumes. The space outside adipocytes in the hypodermis is not a fluid, but rather a solid extracellular matrix of collageneous fibrils embedded within a glycosaminoglycan-rich viscoelastic gel that buffers convective forces. The extracellular matrix limits the volume of drug that can be injected at a single site, as well as the rate and amount that reach the vascular compartment. A fully human recombinant DNA-derived hyaluronidase enzyme (rHuPH20) has been developed to leverage the historical efficacy of animal testes extract-derived spreading factors to reversibly modify the hypodermis, in light of discovery of the human hyaluronidase gene family. The application of this technology to increase both injection volumes and bioavailability from subcutaneous injection may overcome some key limitations of this route of administration in multiple settings of care.
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              Patients' preferences for subcutaneous trastuzumab versus conventional intravenous infusion for the adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer: final analysis of 488 patients in the international, randomized, two-cohort PrefHer study.

              Patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) preferred subcutaneous (s.c.) trastuzumab, delivered via single-use injection device (SID), over the intravenous (i.v.) formulation (Cohort 1 of the PrefHer study: NCT01401166). Here, we report patient preference, healthcare professional satisfaction, and safety data pooled from Cohort 1 and also Cohort 2, where s.c. trastuzumab was delivered via hand-held syringe.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                13 January 2021
                : 15
                : 159-170
                [1 ]Pharmaceutical Research & Development, Pfizer Inc ., Andover, MA, USA
                [2 ]Drug Product Science & Technology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Co ., New Brunswick, NJ, USA
                [3 ]BioPharmaceuticals Development, Research & Development, AstraZeneca , Cambridge, MA, UK
                [4 ]Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc ., San Diego, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Advait V Badkar 68 Lowell Junction Road (K2030), Andover, MA01810, USATel +1-314-677-4061 Email advait.v.badkar@pfizer.com
                © 2021 Badkar et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 108, Pages: 12


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