The overall goal of the ESR2 project is the development of biomaterial-based hydrogels as effective drug delivery systems, tailor-made for the transmucosal delivery of biopharmaceuticals. The project will begin with the chemical modification of biopolymers such as hyaluronic acid, with the aim of producing hydrogels with enhanced mechanical and mucoadhesive properties.

Biopolymers were selected for further exploration with regard to their biocompatibility and mucoadhesive properties. Further modification of said biopolymers will aim to improve surface wetting and mucoadhesive behaviour of hydrogel formulations for an optimized adhesion at the intranasal mucosa. The modified biopolymers will be characterised with a combination of physical and chemical characterisation methods. Specific parameters will be evaluated, such as swelling and degradation behaviour, adhesive strength, elastic and shear modulus, chemical composition, and degree of substitution.

Evaluation and analysis of the aforementioned properties will further guide the optimisation of synthesis parameters for improved hydrogels. The optimised hydrogel formulations will be used in combination with embedded particles developed by ESR1 to study the release behaviour and stability of biopharmaceuticals. Characterisation of the release behaviour will be accompanied by ex vivo testing with porcine mucosa. The final drug delivery system will undergo upscaling for translation to industrial development processes.