Alvin Ly, Nicholas B. Carrigy, Hui Wang, Melissa Harrison, Dominic Sauvageau, Andrew R Martin, Reinhard Vehring, Warren H Finlay
Therapeutic bacteriophages offer a potential alternative approach in the treatment of drug resistant bacteria. In the present study, we examine the ability of atmospheric spray freeze-drying (ASFD) to process bacteriophage D29 into a solid dry formulation. Bacteriophage D29 is of particular interest due to its ability to infect Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A sugar solution containing bacteriophage D29 was sprayed and instantly frozen in a cold chamber. Cold drying gas was then passed through the chamber at a high flow rate and atmospheric pressure. Convective transport combined with the low temperature of the drying gas results in sublimation of ice, yielding a free-flowing, porous powder. The bacteriophages were atmospheric spray freeze-dried in solutions with varying concentrations of trehalose and mannitol. A solution of trehalose and mannitol at a mass ratio of 7:3 and a total mass concentration of 100 mg/mL led to powder with 4.9 ± 0.1% moisture content and an acceptable titer reduction of ∼0.6 logs. In comparison, a pure trehalose solution and a 1:1 ratio of trehalose and mannitol both had titer reductions of >1.5 logs. Spectroscopic analysis showed that trehalose in the powder was amorphous while mannitol completely crystallized during the drying process, both of which are desirable for preserving phage viability and storage in powders. The results highlight the potential for using ASFD as an alternative process in preserving biopharmaceutical products.