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High-Throughput Automation of Endosomolytic Polymers for mRNA Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 19.01.2021, 20:43 by David Ulkoski, Michael J. Munson, Max E. Jacobson, Christian R. Palmer, Carcia S. Carson, Alan Sabirsh, John T. Wilson, Venkata R. Krishnamurthy
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in designing delivery systems to enhance the efficacy of RNA-based therapeutics. Here, we have synthesized copolymers comprised of dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) or diethylaminoethyl methacrylate (DEAEMA) copolymerized with alkyl methacrylate monomers ranging from 2 to 12 carbons, and developed a high throughput workflow for rapid investigation of their applicability for mRNA delivery. The structure activity relationship revealed that the mRNA encapsulation efficiency is improved by increasing the cationic density and use of shorter alkyl side chains (2–6 carbons). Minimal cytotoxicity was observed when using DEAEMA-co-BMA (EB) polyplexes up to 18 h after dosing, independent of a poly­(ethylene glycol) (PEG) first block. The lowest molecular weight polymer (EB10,250) performed best, exhibiting greater transfection than polyethyenimine (PEI) based upon the number of cells transfected and mean intensity. Conventional investigations into the performance of polymeric materials for mRNA delivery is quite tedious, consequently limiting the number of materials and formulation conditions that can be studied. The high throughput approach presented here can accelerate the screening of polymeric systems and paves the way for expanding this generalizable approach to assess various materials for mRNA delivery.