Mucoadhesive wafers composed of binary polymer blends for sublingual delivery and preservation of protein vaccines

Samuel M. Hanson, Shailbala Singh, Anthony Tabet, K. Jagannadha Sastry, Michael Barry, Chun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study is to develop a simple biopolymer platform of mucoadhesive wafers that enables effective sublingual delivery and preservation of protein vaccines. The wafers were composed of a series of binary polymer blends of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and alginate (ALG). Varying the ratio between CMC and ALG resulted in wafers with different microstructure, mechanical properties, disintegration time, and release kinetics of model compounds. Wafers with high CMC content were highly mucoadhesive to sublingual mucosal tissue and could withstand extensive washing, leading to improved protein permeation into the tissue. On the other hand, wafers with high ALG content were not only mechanically robust, but also able to protect a model enzyme (β-galactosidase) against lyophilization and heat challenge. HIV gp140 protein loaded in wafers of the optimal composition could be stored and transported without cold chain, while maintaining antigen-specific immunogenicity after sublingual vaccination in mice. These findings established that the CMC/ALG binary blend polymer wafers have the potential to improve the sublingual delivery and storage stability of protein-based vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-437
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Feb 10 2021


  • Mucoadhesive polymer
  • Sublingual delivery
  • Vaccine delivery
  • Vaccine stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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