Transdermal Administration of Nanobody Molecules using Hydrogel‐Forming Microarray Patch Technology: A Unique Delivery Approach

Aaron R. J. Hutton, Melissa Kirkby, Tom Van Bogaert, Peter Casteels, Christelle Nonne, Veronique De Brabandere, Ortwin Van de Vyver, Lalit K. Vora, Ismaiel A. Tekko, Helen O. McCarthy, Ryan F. Donnelly

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Nanobody molecules, derived from heavy-chain only antibodies in camelids, represent the next generation of biotherapeutics. In addition to low immunogenicity, high stability, and potency, their single-domain format facilitates the construction of multivalent molecules for therapeutic applications. Although predominantly administered using a hypodermic syringe and needle, alternative delivery methods are under investigation. That said, the transdermal route has yet to be explored. Therefore, microarray patch (MAP) technology, offering a potentially high dose, pain-free transdermal system, is employed in this study. Trivalent Nanobody molecules, with and without half-life extension (VHH and VHH[HLE]), are formulated into hydrogel-forming MAPs, with pharmacokinetic parameters assessed in Sprague–Dawley rats. VHH MAPs exhibited a sustained release profile, with a serum concentration of 19 ± 9 ng mL −1 24 h post-administration. In contrast, a subcutaneous (SC) injection showed faster clearance, with a serum concentration of 1.1 ± 0.4 ng mL −1 at 24 h. For VHH(HLE), both SC and MAP cohorts achieved a maximum serum concentration (T max) at 24 h. The MAP cohort displayed a notable increase in VHH(HLE) serum levels between 6–24 h, dropping after MAP removal. This study has exemplified MAPs potential for delivering advanced biologics, indicating the transdermal route's promise for pain-free, patient-friendly administration of Nanobody molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2400029
JournalMacromolecular Materials and Engineering
Issue number6
Early online date18 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge Abdullah Kandira and Tobias Paehler for support with the in vivo subcutaneous injection PK study, Els Pattyn for statistics support, and Gustavo Rivera for critical review of the manuscript.
Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Data Access Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


  • biotherapeutics
  • hydrogel-forming
  • microarray patch
  • transdermal


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