Li L, Johnson LM, Krovi SA, Demkovich ZR, van der Straten A. Performance and Stability of Tenofovir Alafenamide Formulations within Subcutaneous Biodegradable Implants for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Pharmaceutics. 2020; 12(11):1057.
A critical need exists to develop diverse biomedical strategies for the widespread use of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (HIV PrEP). This manuscript describes a subcutaneous reservoir-style implant for long-acting delivery of tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) for HIV PrEP. We detail key parameters of the TAF formulation that affect implant performance, including TAF ionization form, the selection of excipient and the exposure to aqueous conditions. Both in-vitro studies and shelf stability tests demonstrate enhanced performance for TAF freebase (TAFFB) in this long-acting implant platform, as TAFFB maintains higher chemical stability than the TAF hemifumarate salt (TAFHF). We also examined the hydrolytic degradation profiles of various formulations of TAF and identified inflection points for the onset of the accelerated drug hydrolysis within the implant using a two-line model. The compositions of unstable formulations are characterized by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and are correlated to predominant products of the TAF hydrolytic pathways. The hydrolysis rate of TAF is affected by pH and water content in the implant microenvironment. We further demonstrate the ability to substantially delay the degradation of TAF by reducing the rates of drug release and thus lowering the water ingress rate. Using this approach, we achieved sustained release of TAFFB formulations over 240 days and maintained > 93% TAF purity under simulated physiological conditions. The opportunities for optimization of TAF formulations in this biodegradable implant supports further advancement of strategies to address long-acting HIV PrEP