The effectiveness of Tenofovir based HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is proven, but hinges on correct and consistent use. User compliance and therapeutic effectiveness can be improved by long acting drug delivery systems. Here we describe a thin-film polymer device (TFPD) as a biodegradable subcutaneous implant for PrEP.
A thin-film polycaprolactone (PCL) membrane controls drug release from a reservoir. To achieve membrane controlled release, TAF requires a formulation excipient such as PEG300 to increase the dissolution rate and reservoir solubility. Short-term In vitro release studies are used to develop an empirical design model, which is applied to the production of in vitro prototype devices demonstrating up to 90-days of linear release and TAF chemical stability.
The size and shape of the TFPD are tunable, achieving release rates ranging from 0.5 to 4.4 mg/day in devices no larger than a contraceptive implant. Based on published data for oral TAF, subcutaneous constant-rate release for HIV PrEP is estimated at <2.8 mg/day. Prototype devices demonstrated linear release at 1.2 mg/day for up to 90 days and at 2.2 mg/day for up to 60 days.
We present a biodegradable TFPD for subcutaneous delivery of TAF for HIV PrEP. The size, shape and release rate of the device are tunable over a > 8-fold range.