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United States Patent Application 20170239399
Kind Code A1
DeYoung; James P. ;   et al. August 24, 2017

COATINGS CONTAINING MULTIPLE DRUGS

Abstract

A method for depositing a coating comprising a polymer and at least two pharmaceutical agents on a substrate, comprising the following steps: providing a stent framework; depositing on said stent framework a first layer comprising a first pharmaceutical agent; depositing a second layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent; Wherein said first and second pharmaceutical agents are selected from two different classes of pharmaceutical agents.


Inventors: DeYoung; James P.; (Dallas, TX) ; Taylor; Charles Douglas; (Franklinton, NC) ; McClain; James B.; (Ocracoke, NC) ; Smoke; Clint; (Raleigh, NC) ; Cole; Mike; (Raleigh, NC)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Micell Technologies, Inc.

Durham

NC

US
Assignee: Micell Technologies, Inc.
Durham
NC

Family ID: 1000002655542
Appl. No.: 15/591287
Filed: May 10, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14969884Dec 15, 2015
15591287
14473741Aug 29, 20149415142
14969884
12298459Mar 16, 20098852625
PCT/US2007/010227Apr 26, 2007
14473741
60912394Apr 17, 2007
60745731Apr 26, 2006
60745733Apr 26, 2006

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A61L 31/16 20130101; A61L 31/10 20130101; A61L 31/148 20130101; A61L 31/06 20130101; A61F 2/90 20130101; A61L 2420/08 20130101; A61F 2250/0067 20130101; A61L 2300/61 20130101; A61L 2300/416 20130101; A61L 2300/236 20130101; A61L 2300/216 20130101; A61L 2300/42 20130101; A61F 2210/0004 20130101; A61L 2420/06 20130101
International Class: A61L 31/16 20060101 A61L031/16; A61F 2/90 20060101 A61F002/90; A61L 31/06 20060101 A61L031/06; A61L 31/10 20060101 A61L031/10; A61L 31/14 20060101 A61L031/14

Claims



1. A pharmaceutical product comprising: a. a core, and b. a coating deposited on said core, said coating comprising at least one polymer layer in dry powder form, and c. at least one pharmaceutical layer comprising a pharmaceutical agent having a morphology that is crystalline or semi-crystalline.

2. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said at least one polymer comprises a bioabsorbable polymer.

3. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said at least one polymer layer comprises a sintered layer in which the morphology of said pharmaceutical agent in said coating has not been substantially modified.

4. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said polymer of said at least one polymer layer is selected from PLA, PLGA, PGA, and Poly(dioxanone).

5. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said coating comprises five or more layers, as follows: a first polymer layer; a first pharmaceutical layer comprising said at least one pharmaceutical agent; a second polymer layer; a second pharmaceutical layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent; and a third polymer layer.

6. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said coating comprises four or more layers, as follows: a first polymer layer; a first pharmaceutical layer comprising said at least one pharmaceutical agent; a second polymer layer; and a second pharmaceutical layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent.

7. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, comprising four or more layers, as follows: the first pharmaceutical layer comprising a first pharmaceutical agent; a first polymer layer; a second pharmaceutical layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent; and a second polymer layer.

8. The pharmaceutical product of claim 1, wherein said pharmaceutical layer and said at least one polymer layer comprise alternate layers of pharmaceutical agent, or pharmaceutical agent and polymer, and layers of polymer without pharmaceutical agents.

9. A pharmaceutical product comprising: a coating composition comprising at least one polymer layer, a pharmaceutical layer comprising at least one pharmaceutical agent, and wherein said at least one polymer layer comprises a sintered layer in which the morphology of said pharmaceutical agent in said coating has not been substantially modified, and said first pharmaceutical agent is crystalline or semi-crystalline.

10. The pharmaceutical product of claim 9, wherein said at least one polymer layer comprises a bioabsorbable polymer.

11. The pharmaceutical product of claim 9, wherein said polymer of said at least one polymer layer is selected from PLA, PLGA, PGA, and Poly(dioxanone).

12. The pharmaceutical product of claim 9, comprising five or more layers, as follows: a first polymer layer; a first pharmaceutical layer comprising said at least one pharmaceutical agent; a second polymer layer; a second pharmaceutical layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent; and a third polymer layer.

13. The pharmaceutical product of claim 9, comprising four or more layers, as follows: a first polymer layer; a first pharmaceutical layer comprising said at least one pharmaceutical agent; a second polymer layer; and a second pharmaceutical layer comprising a second pharmaceutical agent.

14. The pharmaceutical product of claim 9, wherein said pharmaceutical layer and said at least one polymer layer comprise alternate layers of pharmaceutical agent, or pharmaceutical agent and polymer, and layers of polymer without pharmaceutical agent.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE

[0001] The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/969,884, filed on Dec. 15, 2015, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/473,741, filed on Aug. 29, 2014, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,415,142, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference, which claims the benefit of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/298,459, filed Mar. 16, 2009, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,852,625, which was filed pursuant to 35 U.S.C. .sctn.371 as a United States National Phase Application of International Application No. PCT/US2007/010227, filed Apr. 26, 2007, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/912,394 filed Apr. 17, 2007; 60/745,731 filed Apr. 26, 2006; and 60/745,733 filed Apr. 26, 2006, each of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to methods for depositing a coating comprising a polymer and a pharmaceutical or biological agent in powder form onto a substrate.

[0003] It is often beneficial to provide coatings onto substrates, such that the surfaces of such substrates have desired properties or effects.

[0004] For example, it is useful to coat biomedical implants to provide for the localized delivery of pharmaceutical or biological agents to target specific locations within the body, for therapeutic or prophylactic benefit. One area of particular interest is that of drug eluting stents (DES) that has recently been reviewed by Ong and Serruys in Nat. Clin. Pract. Cardiovasc. Med., (Dec 2005), Vol 2, No 12, 647. Typically such pharmaceutical or biological agents are co-deposited with a polymer. Such localized delivery of these agents avoids the problems of systemic administration, which may be accompanied by unwanted effects on other parts of the body, or because administration to the afflicted body part requires a high concentration of pharmaceutical or biological agent that may not be achievable by systemic administration. The coating may provide for controlled release, including long-term or sustained release, of a pharmaceutical or biological agent. Additionally, biomedical implants may be coated with materials to provide beneficial surface properties, such as enhanced biocompatibility or lubriciousness.

[0005] Conventionally, coatings have been applied by processes such as dipping, spraying, vapor deposition, plasma polymerization, and electro-deposition. Although these processes have been used to produce satisfactory coatings, there are drawbacks associated therewith. For example it is often difficult to achieve coatings of uniform thicknesses and prevent the occurrence of defects (e.g. bare spots). Also, in many processes, multiple coating steps are frequently necessary, usually requiring drying between or after the coating steps.

[0006] Another disadvantage of most conventional methods is that many pharmaceutical or biological agents, once deposited onto a substrate, suffer from poor bioavailability, reduced shelf life, low in vivo stability or uncontrollable elution rates, often attributable to poor control of the morphology and/or secondary structure of the agent. Pharmaceutical agents present significant morphology control challenges using existing spray coating techniques, which conventionally involve a solution containing the pharmaceutical agents being spayed onto a substrate. As the solvent evaporates the agents are typically left in an amorphous state. Lack of or low degree of crystallinity of the spray coated agent can lead to decreased shelf life and too rapid drug elution. Biological agents typically rely, at least in part, on their secondary, tertiary and/or quaternary structures for their activity. While the use of conventional solvent-based spray coating techniques may successfully result in the deposition of a biological agent upon a substrate, it will often result in the loss of at least some of the secondary, tertiary and/or quaternary structure of the agent and therefore a corresponding loss in activity. For example, many proteins lose activity when formulated in carrier matrices as a result of the processing methods.

[0007] Conventional solvent-based spray coating processes are also hampered by inefficiencies related to collection of the coating constituents onto the substrate and the consistency of the final coating. As the size of the substrate decreases, and as the mechanical complexity increases, it grows increasingly difficult to uniformly coat all surfaces of a substrate.

[0008] What is needed is a cost-effective method for depositing inert polymers and pharmaceutical or biological agents onto a substrate, where the collection process is efficient, the coating produced is conformal, substantially defect-free and uniform, the composition of the coating can be regulated and the morphology and/or secondary structure of the pharmaceutical or biological agents can be controlled. The method would thus permit structural and morphological preservation of the agents deposited during the coating process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] A first aspect of the invention provides methods for depositing a coating comprising a polymer and pharmaceutical agent on a substrate, comprising discharging at least one pharmaceutical agent in a therapeutically desirable morphology in dry powder form through a first orifice; discharging at least one polymer in dry powder form through a second orifice; depositing the polymer and/or pharmaceutical particles onto said substrate, wherein an electrical potential is maintained between the substrate and the pharmaceutical and/or polymer particles, thereby forming said coating; and sintering said coating under conditions that do not substantially modify the morphology of said pharmaceutical agent.

[0010] Although the size, resistivity and moisture content of the polymer and pharmaceutical agent may vary widely based on the conditions used, desired particle sizes are typically in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-2500 .mu.m, and more preferably in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-100 .mu.m, resistivity is typically in the range of from about 106.OMEGA.m to about 1024.OMEGA.m and moisture content is less than 5% by weight. In one embodiment of the invention the molecular weight range of the polymer is from about 5,000 a.u. to about 100,000 a.u. In other embodiments, the first and second orifices are provided as one single orifice wherein the pharmaceutical agent and polymer may be mixed together prior to discharging. In yet other embodiments the pharmaceutical agent and polymer particles may be discharged simultaneously or in succession. In another embodiment of the invention the method further comprises discharging a third dry powder comprising a second pharmaceutical agent whereby a coating comprising at least two different pharmaceutical agents is deposited on said substrate. In some embodiments, the therapeutically desirable morphology of said pharmaceutical agent is crystalline or semi-crystalline, wherein preferably at least 50% of said pharmaceutical agent in powder form is crystalline or semicrystalline. In certain other embodiments of the invention the pharmaceutical agent is prepared by milling, jet-milling, granulation, spray drying, crystallizing or fluidizing and in a preferred embodiment the therapeutically desirable morphology is not substantially changed after the step of sintering the coating. In a further embodiment the pharmaceutical agent and/or the polymer becomes electrostatically charged prior to deposition, and the substrate may be electrically grounded. In a preferred embodiment, the substrate is electrostatically charged. In some embodiments the polymer and pharmaceutical agent are discharged using a gas based propellant, which typically comprises carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, helium, nitrogen, compressed air, argon, or volatile hydrocarbons with a vapor pressure greater than 750 Torr at 20.degree. C., and is preferably carbon dioxide. In one embodiment of the invention the pharmaceutical agent comprises at least one drug, which may be selected from Sirolimus, Tacrolimus, Everolimus, Zotarolimus, and Taxol. In another embodiment of the invention the ratio of pharmaceutical agent to polymer is from about 1:50 to about 5:1. In some embodiments, the amount of pharmaceutical agent will depend on the particular agent being employed, the type of substrate, and the medical condition being treated. Typically, the amount of pharmaceutical agent is about 0.001 percent to about 70 percent, more typically about 0.001 percent to about 50 percent, most typically about 0.001 percent to about 20 percent by weight of the polymer/pharmaceutical agent combination. In other embodiments, however, the present invention permits "high load" formulation where the coating composition comprises at least 50, 60, 70 or 80 percent by weight of the pharmaceutical agent, combined with not more than 50, 40, 30 or 20 percent by weight of polymer composition.

[0011] Another aspect of the invention provides methods for depositing a coating comprising an active biological agent and a polymer on a substrate, comprising discharging at least one active biological agent through a first orifice; discharging at least one polymer in dry powder form through a second orifice; depositing the active biological agent and/or polymer particles onto said substrate, wherein an electrical potential is maintained between the substrate and the active biological agent and/or polymer particles, thereby forming said coating; and sintering said coating under conditions that do not substantially modify the activity of said biological agent.

[0012] In some embodiments the activity of the active biological agent is of therapeutic or prophylactic value and may be influenced by its secondary, tertiary or quaternary structure. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the active biological agent possesses a secondary, tertiary or quaternary structure which is not substantially changed after sintering. In one embodiment of the invention the active biological agent is a peptide, protein, enzyme, nucleic acid, antisense nucleic acid, antimicrobial, vitamin, hormone, steroid, lipid, polysaccharide or carbohydrate, and may further comprise a stabilizing agent. Most preferably the active biological agent is a peptide, protein or enzyme. In other embodiments, the active biological agent is provided as a dry powder Although the size, resistivity and moisture content of the active biological agent and polymer may vary widely based on the conditions used, desired particle sizes are typically in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-2500 .mu.m, and more preferably in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-100 .mu.m, resistivity is typically in the range of from about 106 .OMEGA.m to about 1024 .OMEGA.m and moisture content is less than 5% by weight. In one embodiment of the invention the molecular weight range of the polymer is from about 5,000 a.u. to about 100,000 a.u. In other embodiments, the first and second orifices are provided as one single orifice wherein the pharmaceutical agent and polymer may be mixed together prior to discharging. In yet other embodiments the pharmaceutical agent and polymer particles may be discharged simultaneously or in succession. In another embodiment of the invention the method further comprises discharging a second active biological agent whereby a coating comprising at least two different biological agents is deposited on said substrate. In a further embodiment the biological agent and/or the polymer becomes electrostatically charged prior to deposition, and the substrate may be electrically grounded. In a preferred embodiment, the substrate is electrostatically charged. In some embodiments the polymer and biological agent are discharged using a gas based propellant, which typically, comprises carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, helium, nitrogen, compressed air or volatile hydrocarbons with a vapor pressure greater than 750 Torr at 20.degree. C., and is preferably carbon dioxide. In another embodiment of the invention the ratio of biological agent to polymer is from about 1:50 to about 5:1. In some embodiments, the amount of biological agent will depend on the particular agent being employed, the type of substrate, and the medical condition being treated. Typically, the amount of biological agent is about 0.001 percent to about 70 percent, more typically about 0.001 percent to about 50 percent, most typically about 0.001 percent to about 20 percent by weight of the polymer/biological agent combination. In other embodiments, however, the present invention permits "high load" formulation where the coating composition comprises at least 50, 60, 70 or 80 percent by weight of the biological agent, combined with not more than 50, 40, 30 or 20 percent by weight of polymer composition.

[0013] Yet another aspect of the invention provides methods for depositing a coating comprising a polymer and a pharmaceutical agent on a substrate, comprising discharging at least one pharmaceutical agent in a therapeutically desirable morphology in dry powder form through a first orifice; forming a supercritical or near supercritical fluid mixture that includes at least one supercritical fluid solvent and at least one polymer and discharging said supercritical or near supercritical fluid solution through a second orifice under conditions sufficient to form solid particles of the polymer; depositing the polymer and/or pharmaceutical particles onto said substrate, wherein an electrical potential is maintained between the substrate and the pharmaceutical and/or polymer particles, thereby forming said coating and sintering said coating under conditions that do not substantially modify the morphology of said solid pharmaceutical particles.

[0014] Although the size, resistivity and moisture content of the pharmaceutical agent may vary widely based on the conditions used, desired particle sizes are typically in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-2500 .mu.m, and more preferably in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-100 .mu.m, resistivity is typically in the range of from about 106 .OMEGA.m to about 1024 .OMEGA.m and moisture content is less than 5% by weight. In one embodiment of the invention, the molecular weight range of the polymer is from about 5,000 a.u. to about 100,000 a.u. In one embodiment of the invention the pharmaceutical and polymer particles are discharged simultaneously, while in another embodiment of the invention they are discharged in succession. In another embodiment of the invention the method further comprises discharging a second dry powder comprising a second pharmaceutical agent whereby a coating comprising at least two different pharmaceutical agents is deposited on said substrate. In some embodiments, the therapeutically desirable morphology of said pharmaceutical agent is crystalline or semi-crystalline, wherein preferably at least 50% of said pharmaceutical agent in powder form is crystalline or semicrystalline. In certain other embodiments of the invention the pharmaceutical agent is prepared by milling, jet-milling, granulation, spray drying, crystallizing or fluidizing and in a preferred embodiment the therapeutically desirable morphology is not substantially changed after the step of sintering the coating. In a further embodiment the pharmaceutical agent and/or the polymer becomes electrostatically charged prior to deposition, and the substrate may be electrically grounded. In a preferred embodiment, the substrate is electrostatically charged. In some embodiments the pharmaceutical agent is discharged using a gas based propellant, which typically comprises carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, helium, nitrogen, compressed air or volatile hydrocarbons with a vapor pressure greater than 750 Torr at 20.degree. C., and is preferably carbon dioxide. In one embodiment of the invention the pharmaceutical agent comprises at least one drug, which may be selected from [list]. In another embodiment of the invention the ratio of pharmaceutical agent to polymer is from about 1:50 to about 5:1. In some embodiments, the amount of pharmaceutical agent will depend on the particular agent being employed, the type of substrate, and the medical condition being treated. Typically, the amount of pharmaceutical agent is about 0.001 percent to about 70 percent, more typically about 0.001 percent to about 50 percent, most typically about 0.001 percent to about 20 percent by weight of the polymer/pharmaceutical agent combination. In other embodiments, however, the present invention permits "high load" formulation where the coating composition comprises at least 50, 60, 70 or 80 percent by weight of the pharmaceutical agent, combined with not more than 50, 40, 30 or 20 percent by weight of polymer composition.

[0015] A further aspect of the invention provides methods for depositing a coating comprising an active biological agent and a polymer on a substrate, comprising discharging at least one active biological agent through a first orifice; forming a supercritical or near supercritical fluid mixture that includes at least one supercritical fluid solvent and at least one polymer and discharging said supercritical or near supercritical fluid solution through a second orifice under conditions sufficient to form solid particles of the polymer; depositing the active biological agent and/or polymer particles onto said substrate, wherein an electrical potential is maintained between the substrate and the active biological agent and/or polymer particles, thereby forming said coating and sintering said coating under conditions that do not substantially modify the activity of said biological agent.

[0016] In some embodiments the activity of the active biological agent is of therapeutic or prophylactic value and may be influenced by its secondary, tertiary or quaternary structure. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the active biological agent possesses a secondary, tertiary or quaternary structure which is not substantially changed after sintering. In one embodiment of the invention the active biological agent is a peptide, protein, enzyme, nucleic acid, antisense nucleic acid, antimicrobial, vitamin, hormone, steroid, lipid, polysaccharide or carbohydrate, and may further comprise a stabilizing agent. Most preferably the active biological agent is a peptide, protein or enzyme. In other embodiments, the active biological agent is provided as a dry powder. Although the size, resistivity and moisture content of the active biological agent may vary widely based on the conditions used, desired particle sizes are typically in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-2500 .mu.m, and more preferably in the range of 0.01 .mu.m-100 .mu.m, resistivity is typically in the range of from about 106 .OMEGA.m to about 1024 .OMEGA.m and moisture content is less than 5% by weight. In one embodiment of the invention the molecular weight range of the polymer is from about 5,000 a.u. to about 100,000 a.u. In one embodiment of the invention the biological agent and polymer particles are discharged simultaneously, while in another embodiment of the invention they are discharged in succession. In another embodiment of the invention the method further comprises discharging second active biological agent whereby a coating comprising at least two different biological agents is deposited on said substrate. In a further embodiment the biological agent and/or the polymer becomes electrostatically charged prior to deposition, and the substrate may be electrically grounded. In a preferred embodiment, the substrate is electrostatically charged. In some embodiments the biological agent is discharged using a gas based propellant, which typically comprises carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, helium, nitrogen, compressed air or volatile hydrocarbons with a vapor pressure greater than 750 Torr at 20.degree. C., and is preferably carbon dioxide. In another embodiment of the invention the ratio of biological agent to polymer is from about 1:50 to about 5:1. In some embodiments, the amount of biological agent will depend on the particular agent being employed, the type of substrate, and the medical condition being treated. Typically, the amount of biological agent is about 0.001 percent to about 70 percent, more typically about 0.001 percent to about 50 percent, most typically about 0.001 percent to about 20 percent by weight of the polymer/biological agent combination. In other embodiments, however, the present invention permits "high load" formulation where the coating composition comprises at least 50, 60, 70 or 80 percent by weight of the biological agent, combined with not more than 50, 40, 30 or 20 percent by weight of polymer composition.

[0017] Each of the above methods may be carried out from about 0.degree. C. to about 80.degree. C. and from about 0.1 atmospheres to about 73 atmospheres, in either open or closed vessel. In some embodiments, the substrate is a biomedical implant which may be a stent, electrode, catheter, lead, implantable pacemaker or cardioverter housing, joint, screw, rod, ophthalmic implant, prosthetic or shunt.

[0018] In some embodiments of the invention the thickness of said coating is from about 1 to about 100 .mu.m, preferably about 10 .mu.m, and the variation in the thickness along said coating is within 0.5 .mu.m, within 0.25 .mu.m, within 0.1 .mu.m or within 10% of the total thickness of said coating, within 5% of the total thickness of said coating, or within 2.5% of the total thickness of said coating. In other embodiments, the XRD pattern of said pharmaceutical agent or active biological agent comprises at least two, at least five and preferably at least ten of the same peaks after the coating process, as compared to the XRD pattern of said pharmaceutical agent or active biological agent prior to the coating process. In yet other embodiments, the pharmaceutical agent or active biological agent is positioned at a selected distance from top of said coating. In further embodiments, the pharmaceutical agent or active biological agent is positioned at about midway between the top of said coating and the substrate surface. In other embodiments of the invention the variability in the amount of pharmaceutical agent or active biological agent deposited on said substrate is 20% or less, 15% or less, 10% or less, 5% or less, for a batch of substrates coated at the same time. Preferably the variability is 5% or less. In yet other embodiments of the invention, the methods further comprise depositing a top layer on said coating wherein said top layer is a polymer film. In some embodiments, the polymer film has a thickness of 0.5 to 10 microns, and can be deposited by a RESS or SEDS process. In yet other embodiments, the polymer film is formed by depositing a single polymer and can be formed by depositing substantially pure PBMA.

[0019] The invention further relates to the use of a supercritical solution comprising a second fluid in its supercritical state.

[0020] In some embodiments, the addition of a second fluid in its supercritical state is to act as a flammability suppressor. In other embodiments, a second fluid is used, wherein said second fluid has critical parameters lower than the first fluid's critical parameters, and therefore lowers the critical properties of the mixture/solution enabling access to the mixture supercritical state.

[0021] In some embodiments the supercritical solution comprises isobutylene. In other embodiments, the supercritical fluid comprises isobutylene and carbon dioxide as a second fluid.

[0022] Other embodiments of the invention provide a way to dissolve two polymers in a supercritical solvent. In some embodiments said two polymers are PEVA and PBMA. In other embodiments, a supercritical solution comprising two polymers is used to create a RESS spray of the polymers generating .about.10 to 100 nm particles of each polymer. In further embodiments, PEVA and PBMA are dissolved in a supercritical solvent that further comprises CO2 to act as a fire suppressor in the event of an ignition source causing a fire.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

[0023] All publications and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. A better understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention will be obtained by reference to the following detailed description that sets forth illustrative embodiments, in which the principles of the invention are utilized, and the accompanying drawings of which:

[0025] FIG. 1. Schematic Representation of the Coating and Sintering Process Apparatus, as discussed in example 9.

[0026] FIG. 2. Detailed images of the Coating and Sintering Process Apparatus, as discussed in example 9.

[0027] FIG. 3. Drug-Polymer coated coronary stent (a) immediately after deposition, (b) after annealing in a dense carbon dioxide environment at 40.degree. C.; the photographs correspond to the experiment discussed in conjunction with Example 10.

[0028] FIG. 4. 40.times. Magnified Images of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents, Obtained From an Optical Microscope with Back and Side Lighting, Showing the Outside, Edge and Inside Surfaces, (a) before and (b) after sintering, as discussed in example 10.

[0029] FIG. 5. 40.times. Magnified Images of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents, Obtained From an Optical Microscope with Back and Side Lighting, Showing the Outside and Inside Surfaces, (a) before and (b) after sintering, as discussed in example 10.

[0030] FIG. 6. 100.times. Magnified Image of a Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stent, Obtained From an Optical Microscope. Crystalline drug is clearly visible embedded within a highly uniform polymer coating, as discussed in example 10.

[0031] FIG. 7. Scanning Electron Microscope Images of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents, at (a) .times.30 magnification, (b) .times.250 magnification, (c) .times.1000 magnification and (d) .times.3000 magnification, as discussed in example 11.

[0032] FIG. 8. Cross-sectional Scanning Electron Microscope Images of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents at (a) .times.7000 magnification and (b) .times.20000 magnification. Four cross-sectional thicknesses measured: (1) 10.355 .mu.M; (2) 10.412 .mu.M; (3) 10.043 .mu.M and (4) 10.157 .mu.M, providing a calculated average thickness of 10.242.mu.M.+-.2%, also discussed in example 11.

[0033] FIG. 9. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) of (a) PEVA Control, (b) PBMA Control, (c) Rapamycin Control and (d) Coated Rapamycin, PEVA, PBMA Mixture. The Rapamycin crystalline melt at 185-200.degree. C. is indicated in (c) and (d), as discussed in example 12.

[0034] FIG. 10. X-Ray Diffraction of (a) Microionized Rapamycin Powder (Control) and (b) Coated Sintered Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Stents, as discussed in example 13.

[0035] FIG. 11. Confocal Raman Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents (i.e. Depth Profiling from Coating Surface to Metal Stent), highlighting (a) Rapamycin Depth Profile Outside Circumference and (b) Polymer Depth Profile Outside Circumference, as discussed in example 14.

[0036] FIG. 12. (a) Rapamycin UV-Vis Spectrum and (b) Calibration Curve at 277 nm, (c) PEVA/PBMA FT-IR Spectrum, (d) PEVA Calibration Curve at 1050 nm and (e) PBMA Calibration Curve at 1285 nm.

[0037] FIG. 13. Quantification of Coating Components, (mean concentrations (3 stents each); 4 cell by 8 mm parylene coated). (a) Rapamycin Quantification (74.+-.11 .mu.g) Using UV-Vis Method; (b) PEVA (1060.+-.190 .mu.g) and (c) PBMA (1110.+-.198 .mu.g) Quantification Using FT-IR Method, as discussed in example 15.

[0038] FIG. 14. Optical Microscopy Showing the Outside Surface of a 3 mm Guidant TriStar.RTM. Stent Coated with Paclitaxel-polymer composite, as discussed in example 16.

[0039] FIG. 15. Paclitaxel Quantification After Coating on a 3 mm Guidant TriStar.RTM. Stent with Paclitaxel/PEVA/PMBA composite, as discussed in example 16. (a) Calibration Curve at 228 nm in ethanol Using UV-Vis Standard Method and (b) Quantification (148.+-.14 .mu.g) Using UV-Vis Method

[0040] FIG. 16. Quantification of Coating Components, (mean concentrations (3 stents each); 6 cell by 8 mm parylene coated). (a) Rapamycin Quantification (81.+-.3 .mu.g) Using UV-Vis Method; (b) PEVA (391.+-.69 .mu.g) and (c) PBMA (268.+-.64 .mu.g) Quantification Using FT-IR Method, as discussed in example 17.

[0041] FIG. 17. Cloud point isotherms for polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and poly(butyl methacrylate) (PMBA) combined as discussed in examples 19, 20, 21 and 22.

[0042] FIGS. 18-24 illustrate particular embodiments of the invention

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0043] The present invention is explained in greater detail below. This description is not intended to be a detailed catalog of all the different ways in which the invention may be implemented, or all the features that may be added to the instant invention. For example, features illustrated with respect to one embodiment may be incorporated into other embodiments, and features illustrated with respect to a particular embodiment may be deleted from that embodiment. In addition, numerous variations and additions to the various embodiments suggested herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the instant disclosure, which do not depart from the instant invention. Hence, the following specification is intended to illustrate some particular embodiments of the invention, and not to exhaustively specify all permutations, combinations and variations thereof.

[0044] Applicants specifically intend that all United States patent references cited herein be incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

[0045] The present invention provides a cost-effective, efficient method for depositing a combination of an inert polymer or polymers and a pharmaceutical or biological agent or agents, onto parts or all surfaces of a substrate, to form a coating that is of a pre-determined, desired thickness, conformal, substantially defect-free, and uniform and the composition of the coating can be regulated. In particular, the present invention addresses the problem of existing coating processes, which do not allow for structural and morphological preservation of the agents deposited during the coating process.

[0046] The first aspect of the invention entails the deposition of the pharmaceutical or biological agents as dry powders, using electrostatic capture to attract the powder particles to the substrate. Dry powder spraying is well known in the art, and dry powder spraying coupled with electrostatic capture has been described, for example in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,470,603 6,319,541 or 6,372,246. The deposition of the polymer can be performed in any number of standard procedures, as the morphology of the polymer, so long as it provides coatings possessing the desired properties (e.g. thickness, conformity, defect-free, uniformity etc), is of less importance. The function of the polymer is primarily one of inert carrier matrix for the active components of the coating.

[0047] The second step of the coating process involves taking the substrates that have been coated with pharmaceutical or biological agents and polymers and subjecting them to a sintering process that takes place under benign conditions, which do not affect the structural and morphological integrity of the pharmaceutical and biological agents. The sintering process as used in the current invention refers to the process by which the co-deposited pharmaceutical agent or biological agent-polymer matrix, becomes fused and adherent to the substrate by treatment of the coated substrate with a compressed gas, compressed liquid, or supercritical fluid that is a non-solvent for the polymers, the pharmaceutical agents and the biological agents, but a plasticizing agent for the polymer. The sintering process takes place under conditions (e.g. mild temperatures), and using benign fluids (e.g. supercritical carbon dioxide) which will not affect the structural and morphological integrity of the pharmaceutical and biological agents.

[0048] One aspect of the invention is the combination of two or more of the dry powder, RESS and SEDS spraying techniques. In all aspects of the invention a pharmaceutical or biological agent is deposited onto a substrate by dry powder spraying.

[0049] A specific aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of a pharmaceutical agent, in a preferred particle size and morphology, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is also dry powder sprayed, whereby the spraying of the agent and the polymer is sequential or simultaneous.

[0050] Another specific aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of an active biological agent, in a preferred particle size and possessing a particular activity, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is also dry powder sprayed, whereby the spraying of the agent and the polymer is sequential or simultaneous.

[0051] Yet another aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of a pharmaceutical agent, in a preferred particle size and morphology, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is sequentially or simultaneously sprayed by the RESS spray process.

[0052] Yet another aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of an active biological agent, in a preferred particle size and possessing a particular activity, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is sequentially or simultaneously sprayed by the RESS spray process.

[0053] Yet another aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of a pharmaceutical agent, in a preferred particle size and morphology, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is sequentially or simultaneously sprayed by the SEDS spray process.

[0054] Yet another aspect of the invention involves the dry powder spraying of an active biological agent, in a preferred particle size and possessing a particular activity, into the same capture vessel as a polymer that is sequentially or simultaneously sprayed by the SEDS spray process.

[0055] Any combination of the above six processes is contemplated by this aspect of the invention.

[0056] In further aspects of the invention the substrates that have been coated with pharmaceutical or biological agents and polymers, as described in the above embodiments are then subjected to a sintering process. The sintering process takes place under benign conditions, which do not affect the structural and morphological integrity of the pharmaceutical and biological agents, and refers to a process by which the co-deposited pharmaceutical agent or biological agent-polymer matrix, becomes fused and adherent to the substrate. This is achieved by treating the coated substrate with a compressed gas, compressed liquid or supercritical fluid that is a non-solvent for the polymers, the pharmaceutical agents and the biological agents, but a plasticizing agent for the polymer. The sintering process takes place under conditions (e.g. mild temperatures), and using benign fluids (e.g. supercritical carbon dioxide) which will not affect the structural and morphological integrity of the pharmaceutical and biological agents. Other sintering processes, which do not affect the structural and morphological integrity of the pharmaceutical and biological agents may also be contemplated by the present invention.

DEFINITIONS

[0057] As used in the present specification, the following words and phrases are generally intended to have the meanings as set forth below, except to the extent that the context in which they are used indicates otherwise.

[0058] "Substrate" as used herein, refers to any surface upon which it is desirable to deposit a coating comprising a polymer and a pharmaceutical or biological agent, wherein the coating process does not substantially modify the morphology of the pharmaceutical agent or the activity of the biological agent. Biomedical implants are of particular interest for the present invention; however the present invention is not intended to be restricted to this class of substrates. Those of skill in the art will appreciate alternate substrates that could benefit from the coating process described herein, such as pharmaceutical tablet cores, as part of an assay apparatus or as components in a diagnostic kit (e.g. a test strip).

[0059] "Biomedical implant" as used herein refers to any implant for insertion into the body of a human or animal subject, including but not limited to stents (e.g., vascular stents), electrodes, catheters, leads, implantable pacemaker, cardioverter or defibrillator housings, joints, screws, rods, ophthalmic implants, femoral pins, bone plates, grafts, anastomotic devices, perivascular wraps, sutures, staples, shunts for hydrocephalus, dialysis grafts, colostomy bag attachment devices, ear drainage tubes, leads for pace makers and implantable cardioverters and defibrillators, vertebral disks, bone pins, suture anchors, hemostatic barriers, clamps, screws, plates, clips, vascular implants, tissue adhesives and sealants, tissue scaffolds, various types of dressings (e.g., wound dressings), bone substitutes, intraluminal devices, vascular supports, etc.

[0060] The implants may be formed from any suitable material, including but not limited to organic polymers (including stable or inert polymers and biodegradable polymers), metals, inorganic materials such as silicon, and composites thereof, including layered structures with a core of one material and one or more coatings of a different material. However, the invention contemplates the use of electrostatic capture in conjunction with substrate having low conductivity or which non-conductive. To enhance electrostatic capture when a non-conductive substrate is employed, the substrate is processed while maintaining a strong electrical field in the vicinity of the substrate.

[0061] Subjects into which biomedical implants of the invention may be applied or inserted include both human subjects (including male and female subjects and infant, juvenile, adolescent, adult and geriatric subjects) as well as animal subjects (including but not limited to dog, cat, horse, monkey, etc.) for veterinary purposes.

[0062] In a preferred embodiment the biomedical implant is an expandable intraluminal vascular graft or stent (e.g., comprising a wire mesh tube) that can be expanded within a blood vessel by an angioplasty balloon associated with a catheter to dilate and expand the lumen of a blood vessel, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,733,665 to Palmaz.

[0063] "Pharmaceutical agent" as used herein refers to any of a variety of drugs or pharmaceutical compounds that can be used as active agents to prevent or treat a disease (meaning any treatment of a disease in a mammal, including preventing the disease, i.e. causing the clinical symptoms of the disease not to develop; inhibiting the disease, i.e. arresting the development of clinical symptoms; and/or relieving the disease, i.e. causing the regression of clinical symptoms). It is possible that the pharmaceutical agents of the invention may also comprise two or more drugs or pharmaceutical compounds. Pharmaceutical agents, include but are not limited to antirestenotic agents, antidiabetics, analgesics, antiinflammatory agents, antirheumatics, antihypotensive agents, antihypertensive agents, psychoactive drugs, tranquillizers, antiemetics, muscle relaxants, glucocorticoids, agents for treating ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, antiallergics, antibiotics, antiepileptics, anticoagulants, antimycotics, antitussives, arteriosclerosis remedies, diuretics, proteins, peptides, enzymes, enzyme inhibitors, gout remedies, hormones and inhibitors thereof, cardiac glycosides, immunotherapeutic agents and cytokines, laxatives, lipid-lowering agents, migraine remedies, mineral products, otologicals, anti parkinson agents, thyroid therapeutic agents, spasmolytics, platelet aggregation inhibitors, vitamins, cytostatics and metastasis inhibitors, phytopharmaceuticals, chemotherapeutic agents and amino acids. Examples of suitable active ingredients are acarbose, antigens, beta-receptor blockers, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs {NSAIDs], cardiac glycosides, acetylsalicylic acid, virustatics, aclarubicin, acyclovir, cisplatin, actinomycin, alpha- and beta-sympatomimetics, (dmeprazole, allopurinol, alprostadil, prostaglandins, amantadine, ambroxol, amlodipine, methotrexate, S-aminosalicylic acid [sic], amitriptyline, amoxicillin, anastrozole, atenolol, azathioprine, balsalazide, beclomethasone, betahistine, bezafibrate, bicalutamide, diazepam and diazepam derivatives, budesonide, bufexamac, buprenorphine, methadone, calcium salts, potassium salts, magnesium salts, candesartan, carbamazepine, captopril, cefalosporins, cetirizine, chenodeoxycholic acid, ursodeoxycholic acid, theophylline and theophylline derivatives, trypsins, cimetidine, clarithromycin, clavulanic acid, clindamycin, clobutinol, clonidine, cotrimoxazole, codeine, caffeine, vitamin D and derivatives of vitamin D, colestyramine, cromoglicic acid, coumarin and coumarin derivatives, cysteine, cytarabine, cyclophosphamide, ciclosporin, cyproterone, cytabarine, dapiprazole, desogestrel, desonide, dihydralazine, diltiazem, ergot alkaloids, dimenhydrinate, dimethyl sulphoxide, dimeticone, domperidone and domperidan derivatives, dopamine, doxazosin, doxorubizin, doxylamine, dapiprazole, benzodiazepines, diclofenac, glycoside antibiotics, desipramine, econazole, ACE inhibitors, enalapril, ephedrine, epinephrine, epoetin and epoetin derivatives, morphinans, calcium antagonists, irinotecan, modafinil, orlistat, peptide antibiotics, phenytoin, riluzoles, risedronate, sildenafil, topiramate, macrolide antibiotics, oestrogen and oestrogen derivatives, progestogen and progestogen derivatives, testosterone and testosterone derivatives, androgen and androgen derivatives, ethenzamide, etofenamate, etofibrate, fenofibrate, etofylline, etoposide, famciclovir, famotidine, felodipine, fenofibrate, fentanyl, fenticonazole, gyrase inhibitors, fluconazole, fludarabine, fluarizine, fluorouracil, fluoxetine, flurbiprofen, ibuprofen, flutamide, fluvastatin, follitropin, formoterol, fosfomicin, furosemide, fusidic acid, gallopamil, ganciclovir, gemfibrozil, gentamicin, ginkgo, Saint John's wort, glibenclamide, urea derivatives as oral antidiabetics, glucagon, glucosamine and glucosamine derivatives, glutathione, glycerol and glycerol derivatives, hypothalamus hormones, goserelin, gyrase inhibitors, guanethidine, halofantrine, haloperidol, heparin and heparin derivatives, hyaluronic acid, hydralazine, hydrochlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide derivatives, salicylates, hydroxyzine, idarubicin, ifosfamide, imipramine, indometacin, indoramine, insulin, interferons, iodine and iodine derivatives, isoconazole, isoprenaline, glucitol and glucitol derivatives, itraconazole, ketoconazole, ketoprofen, ketotifen, lacidipine, lansoprazole, levodopa, levomethadone, thyroid hormones, lipoic acid and lipoic acid derivatives, lisinopril, lisuride, lofepramine, lomustine, loperamide, loratadine, maprotiline, mebendazole, mebeverine, meclozine, mefenamic acid, mefloquine, meloxicam, mepindolol, meprobamate, meropenem, mesalazine, mesuximide, metamizole, metformin, methotrexate, methylphenidate, methylprednisolone, metixene, metoclopramide, metoprolol, metronidazole, mianserin, miconazole, minocycline, minoxidil, misoprostol, mitomycin, mizolastine, moexipril, morphine and morphine derivatives, evening primrose, nalbuphine, naloxone, tilidine, naproxen, narcotine, natamycin, neostigmine, nicergoline, nicethamide, nifedipine, niflumic acid, nimodipine, nimorazole, nimustine, nisoldipine, adrenaline and adrenaline derivatives, norfloxacin, novamine sulfone, noscapine, nystatin, ofloxacin, olanzapine, olsalazine, omeprazole, omoconazole, ondansetron, oxaceprol, oxacillin, oxiconazole, oxymetazoline, pantoprazole, paracetamol, paroxetine, penciclovir, oral penicillins, pentazocine, pentifylline, pentoxifylline, perphenazine, pethidine, plant extracts, phenazone, pheniramine, barbituric acid derivatives, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, pimozide, pindolol, piperazine, piracetam, pirenzepine, piribedil, piroxicam, pramipexole, pravastatin, prazosin, procaine, promazine, propiverine, propranolol, propyphenazone, prostaglandins, protionamide, proxyphylline, quetiapine, quinapril, quinaprilat, ramipril, ranitidine, reproterol, reserpine, ribavirin, rifampicin, risperidone, ritonavir, ropinirole, roxatidine, roxithromycin, ruscogenin, rutoside and rutoside derivatives, sabadilla, salbutamol, salmeterol, scopolamine, selegiline, sertaconazole, sertindole, sertralion, silicates, sildenafil, simvastatin, sitosterol, sotalol, spaglumic acid, sparfloxacin, spectinomycin, spiramycin, spirapril, spironolactone, stavudine, streptomycin, sucralfate, sufentanil, sulbactam, sulphonamides, sulfasalazine, sulpiride, sultamicillin, sultiam, sumatriptan, suxamethonium chloride, tacrine, tacrolimus, taliolol, tamoxifen, taurolidine, tazarotene, temazepam, teniposide, tenoxicam, terazosin, terbinafine, terbutaline, terfenadine, terlipressin, tertatolol, tetracyclins, teryzoline, theobromine, theophylline, butizine, thiamazole, phenothiazines, thiotepa, tiagabine, tiapride, propionic acid derivatives, ticlopidine, timolol, tinidazole, tioconazole, tioguanine, tioxolone, tiropramide, tizanidine, tolazoline, tolbutamide, tolcapone, tolnaftate, tolperisone, topotecan, torasemide, antioestrogens, tramadol, tramazoline, trandolapril, tranylcypromine, trapidil, trazodone, triamcinolone and triamcinolone derivatives, triamterene, trifluperidol, trifluridine, trimethoprim, trimipramine, tripelennamine, triprolidine, trifosfamide, tromantadine, trometamol, tropalpin, troxerutine, tulobuterol, tyramine, tyrothricin, urapidil, ursodeoxycholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid, valaciclovir, valproic acid, vancomycin, vecuronium chloride, Viagra, venlafaxine, verapamil, vidarabine, vigabatrin, viloazine, vinblastine, vincamine, vincristine, vindesine, vinorelbine, vinpocetine, viquidil, warfarin, xantinol nicotinate, xipamide, zafirlukast, zalcitabine, zidovudine, zolmitriptan, zolpidem, zoplicone, zotipine and the like. In some non-limiting examples, the pharmaceutical agent is rapamycin, a rapamycin analogue such as for example, zatarolimus, tacrolimus, or everolimus, estradiol, lantrunculin D, cytochalasin A, NO, dexamethasone, paclitaxel, and angiopeptin. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,897,205; see also U.S. Pat. No. 6,838,528; U.S. Pat. No. 6,497,729 Examples of therapeutic agents employed in conjunction with the invention include, rapamycin, 40-O-(2-Hydroxyethyl)rapamycin (everolimus), 40-O-Benzyl-rapamycin, 40-O-(4'-Hydroxymethyl)benzyl-rapamycin, 40-O-[4'-(1,2-Dihydroxyethyl)]benzyl-rapamycin, 40-O-Allyl-rapamycin, 40-O-[3'-(2,2-Dimethyl-1,3-dioxolan-4(S)-yl)-prop-2'-en-1'-yl]-rapamycin, (2':E,4'S)-40-O-(4', 5'-Dihydroxypent-2'-en-1'-yl)-rapamycin 40-O-(2-Hydroxy)ethoxycar-bonylmethyl-rapamycin, 40-O-(3-Hydroxy) propyl-rapamycin 4O-O-(6-Hydroxy)hexyl-rapamycin 40-O-[2-(2-Hydroxy)ethoxy]ethyl-rapamycin 4O-O-[(3S)-2,2-Dimethyldioxolan-3-yl]methyl-rapamycin, 40-O-[(2S)-2,3-Dihydroxyprop-1-yl]-rapamycin, 4O-O-(2-Acetoxy)ethyl-rapamycin 4O-O-(2-Nicotinoyloxy)ethyl-rapamycin, 4O-O-[2-(N-Morpholino)acetoxy]ethyl-rapamycin 4O-O-(2-N-Imidazolylacetoxy)ethyl-rapamycin, 40-O-[2-(N-Methyl-N'-piperazinyl)acetoxy]ethyl-rapamycin, 39-O-Desmethyl-39, 40-O,O-ethylene-rapamycin, (26R)-26-Dihydro-40-O-(2-hydroxy)ethyl-rapamycin, 28-O-Methyl-rapamycin, 4O-O-(2-Aminoethyl)-rapamycin, 4O-O-(2-Acetaminoethyl)-rapamycin 4O-O-(2-Nicotinamidoethyl)-rapamycin, 4O-O-(2-(N-Methyl-imidazo-2'-ylcarbethoxamido)ethyl)-rapamycin, 4O-O-(2-Ethoxycarbonylaminoethyl)-rapamycin, 40-O-(2-Tolylsulfonamidoethyl)-rapamycin, 40-O-[2-(4',5'-Dicarboethoxy-1',2',3'-triazol-1'-yl)-ethyl]-rapamycin, 42-Epi-(tetrazolyl)rapamycin (tacrolimus), 42-[3-hydroxy-2-(hydroxymethyl)-2-methylpropanoate]rapamycin (temsirolimus), and and 40-epi-(N1-tetrazolyl)-rapamycin(zotarolimus).

[0064] The active ingredients may, if desired, also be used in the form of their pharmaceutically acceptable salts or derivatives (meaning salts which retain the biological effectiveness and properties of the compounds of this invention and which are not biologically or otherwise undesirable), and in the case of chiral active ingredients it is possible to employ both optically active isomers and racemates or mixtures of diastereoisomers.

[0065] "Stability" as used herein in refers to the stability of the drug in a polymer coating deposited on a substrate in its final product form (e.g., stability of the drug in a coated stent). The term stability will define 5% or less degradation of the drug in the final product form.

[0066] "Active biological agent" as used herein refers to a substance, originally produced by living organisms, that can be used to prevent or treat a disease (meaning any treatment of a disease in a mammal, including preventing the disease, i.e. causing the clinical symptoms of the disease not to develop; inhibiting the disease, i.e. arresting the development of clinical symptoms; and/or relieving the disease, i.e. causing the regression of clinical symptoms). It is possible that the active biological agents of the invention may also comprise two or more active biological agents or an active biological agent combined with a pharmaceutical agent, a stabilizing agent or chemical or biological entity. Although the active biological agent may have been originally produced by living organisms, those of the present invention may also have been synthetically prepared, or by methods combining biological isolation and synthetic modification. By way of a non-limiting example, a nucleic acid could be isolated form from a biological source, or prepared by traditional techniques, known to those skilled in the art of nucleic acid synthesis. Furthermore, the nucleic acid may be further modified to contain non-naturally occurring moieties. Non-limiting examples of active biological agents include peptides, proteins, enzymes, glycoproteins, nucleic acids (including deoxyribonucleotide or ribonucleotide polymers in either single or double stranded form, and unless otherwise limited, encompasses known analogues of natural nucleotides that hybridize to nucleic acids in a manner similar to naturally occurring nucleotides), antisense nucleic acids, fatty acids, antimicrobials, vitamins, hormones, steroids, lipids, polysaccharides, carbohydrates and the like. They further include, but are not limited to, antirestenotic agents, antidiabetics, analgesics, antiinflammatory agents, antirheumatics, antihypotensive agents, antihypertensive agents, psychoactive drugs, tranquillizers, antiemetics, muscle relaxants, glucocorticoids, agents for treating ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, antiallergics, antibiotics, antiepileptics, anticoagulants, antimycotics, antitussives, arteriosclerosis remedies, diuretics, proteins, peptides, enzymes, enzyme inhibitors, gout remedies, hormones and inhibitors thereof, cardiac glycosides, immunotherapeutic agents and cytokines, laxatives, lipid-lowering agents, migraine remedies, mineral products, otologicals, anti parkinson agents, thyroid therapeutic agents, spasmolytics, platelet aggregation inhibitors, vitamins, cytostatics and metastasis inhibitors, phytopharmaceuticals and chemotherapeutic agents. Preferably, the active biological agent is a peptide, protein or enzyme, including derivatives and analogs of natural peptides, proteins and enzymes.

[0067] "Activity" as used herein refers to the ability of a pharmaceutical or active biological agent to prevent or treat a disease (meaning any treatment of a disease in a mammal, including preventing the disease, i.e. causing the clinical symptoms of the disease not to develop; inhibiting the disease, i.e. arresting the development of clinical symptoms; and/or relieving the disease, i.e. causing the regression of clinical symptoms). Thus the activity of a pharmaceutical or active biological agent should be of therapeutic or prophylactic value.

[0068] "Secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure " as used herein are defined as follows. The active biological agents of the present invention will typically possess some degree of secondary, tertiary and/or quaternary structure, upon which the activity of the agent depends. As an illustrative, non-limiting example, proteins possess secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure. Secondary structure refers to the spatial arrangement of amino acid residues that are near one another in the linear sequence. The .alpha.-helix and the .beta.-strand are elements of secondary structure. Tertiary structure refers to the spatial arrangement of amino acid residues that are far apart in the linear sequence and to the pattern of disulfide bonds. Proteins containing more than one polypeptide chain exhibit an additional level of structural organization. Each polypeptide chain in such a protein is called a subunit. Quaternary structure refers to the spatial arrangement of subunits and the nature of their contacts. For example hemoglobin consists of two .alpha. and two .beta. chains. It is well known that protein function arises from its conformation or three dimensional arrangement of atoms (a stretched out polypeptide chain is devoid of activity). Thus one aspect of the present invention is to manipulate active biological agents, while being careful to maintain their conformation, so as not to lose their therapeutic activity.

[0069] "Polymer" as used herein, refers to a series of repeating monomeric units that have been cross-linked or polymerized. Any suitable polymer can be used to carry out the present invention. It is possible that the polymers of the invention may also comprise two, three, four or more different polymers. In some embodiments, of the invention only one polymer is used. In some preferred embodiments a combination of two polymers are used. Combinations of polymers can be in varying ratios, to provide coatings with differing properties. Those of skill in the art of polymer chemistry will be familiar with the different properties of polymeric compounds. Examples of polymers that may be used in the present invention include, but are not limited to polycarboxylic acids, cellulosic polymers, proteins, polypeptides, polyvinylpyrrolidone, maleic anhydride polymers, polyamides, polyvinyl alcohols, polyethylene oxides, glycosaminoglycans, polysaccharides, polyesters, bacterial polyesters (PHB, PHV), polyurethanes, polystyrenes, copolymers, silicones, polyorthoesters, polyanhydrides, copolymers of vinyl monomers, polycarbonates, polyethylenes, polypropylenes, polylactic acids, polyglycolic acids, polycaprolactones, polyhydroxybutyrate valerates, polyacrylamides, polyethers, polyurethane dispersions, polyacrylates, acrylic latex dispersions, polyacrylic acid, mixtures and copolymers thereof. The polymers of the present invention may be natural or synthetic in origin, including gelatin, chitosan, dextrin, cyclodextrin, Poly(urethanes), Poly(siloxanes) or silicones, Poly(acrylates) such as poly(methyl methacrylate), poly(butyl methacrylate), and Poly(2-hydroxy ethyl methacrylate), Poly(vinyl alcohol) Poly(olefins) such as poly(ethylene), poly(isoprene), halogenated polymers such as Poly(tetrafluoroethylene)--and derivatives and copolymers such as those commonly sold as Teflon.RTM. products, Poly(vinylidine fluoride), Poly(vinyl acetate), Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone), Poly(acrylic acid), Polyacrylamide, Poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate), Poly(ethylene glycol), Poly(propylene glycol), Poly(methacrylic acid), Poly(dimethyl)-siloxane, Polyethyene terephthalate, Polyethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (PEVA), Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVAL), Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), Poly(styrene-b-isobutylene-b-styrene) (SIBBS), Phosophorycholine (PC), styrene-isobutylene, fluorinated polymers, polyxylenes (PARYLENE), tyrosine based polycarbonates, tyrosine based polyarylates, poly(trimethylene carbonate), hexafluoropropylene, vinylidene fluoride, butyl methacrylate, hexyl methacrylate, vinyl pyrrolidinone, vinyl acetate, etc. Suitable polymers also include absorbable and/or resorbable polymers including the following, combinations, copolymers and derivatives of the following: Polylactides (PLA), Polyglycolides (PGA), Poly(lactide-co-glycolides) (PLGA), Polyanhydrides, Polyorthoesters, Poly(N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide), Poly(1-aspartamide), Polyhydro-butyrate/-valerate copolymer, Polyethyleneoxide/polybutylene terephthalate copolymer, etc.

[0070] "Therapeutically desirable morphology" as used herein refers to the gross form and structure of the pharmaceutical agent, once deposited on the substrate, so as to provide for optimal conditions of ex vivo storage, in vivo preservation and/or in vivo release. Such optimal conditions may include, but are not limited to increased shelf life, increased in vivo stability, good biocompatibility, good bioavailability or modified release rates. Typically, for the present invention, the desired morphology of a pharmaceutical agent would be crystalline or semi-crystalline, although this may vary widely depending on many factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the pharmaceutical agent, the disease to be treated/prevented, the intended storage conditions for the substrate prior to use or the location within the body of any biomedical implant. Preferably at least 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% or 100% of the pharmaceutical agent is in crystalline or semi-crystalline form.

[0071] "Stabilizing agent" as used herein refers to any substance that maintains or enhances the stability of the biological agent. Ideally these stabilizing agents are classified as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) materials by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Examples of stabilizing agents include, but are not limited to carrier proteins, such as albumin, gelatin, metals or inorganic salts. Pharmaceutically acceptable excipient that may be present can further be found in the relevant literature, for example in the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Additives: An International Guide to More Than 6000 Products by Trade Name, Chemical, Function, and Manufacturer; Michael and Irene Ash (Eds.); Gower Publishing Ltd.; Aldershot, Hampshire, England, 1995.

[0072] "Compressed fluid" as used herein refers to a fluid of appreciable density (e.g., >0.2 g/cc) that is a gas at standard temperature and pressure. "Supercritical fluid", "near-critical fluid", "near-supercritical fluid", "critical fluid", "densified fluid" or "densified gas" as used herein refers to a compressed fluid under conditions wherein the temperature is at least 80% of the critical temperature of the fluid and the pressure is at least 50% of the critical pressure of the fluid.

[0073] Examples of substances that demonstrate supercritical or near critical behavior suitable for the present invention include, but are not limited to carbon dioxide, isobutylene, ammonia, water, methanol, ethanol, ethane, propane, butane, pentane, dimethyl ether, xenon, sulfur hexafluoride, halogenated and partially halogenated materials such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons (such as perfluoromethane and perfuoropropane, chloroform, trichloro-fluoromethane, dichloro-difluoromethane, dichloro-tetrafluoroethane) and mixtures thereof.

[0074] "Sintering" as used herein refers to the process by which parts of the matrix or the entire polymer matrix becomes continuous (e.g., formation of a continuous polymer film). As discussed below, the sintering process is controlled to produce a fully conformal continuous matrix (complete sintering) or to produce regions or domains of continuous coating while producing voids (discontinuities) in the matrix. As well, the sintering process is controlled such that some phase separation is obtained between polymer different polymers (e.g., polymers A and B) and/or to produce phase separation between discrete polymer particles. Through the sintering process, the adhesions properties of the coating are improved to reduce flaking of detachment of the coating from the substrate during manipulation in use. As described below, in some embodiments, the sintering process is controlled to provide incomplete sintering of the polymer matrix. In embodiments involving incomplete sintering, a polymer matrix is formed with continuous domains, and voids, gaps, cavities, pores, channels or, interstices that provide space for sequestering a therapeutic agent which is released under controlled conditions. Depending on the nature of the polymer, the size of polymer particles and/or other polymer properties, a compressed gas, a densified gas, a near critical fluid or a super-critical fluid may be employed. In one example, carbon dioxide is used to treat a substrate that has been coated with a polymer and a drug, using dry powder and RESS electrostatic coating processes. In another example, isobutylene is employed in the sintering process. In other examples a mixture of carbon dioxide and isobutylene is employed.

[0075] When an amorphous material is heated to a temperature above its glass transition temperature, or when a crystalline material is heated to a temperature above a phase transition temperature, the molecules comprising the material are more mobile, which in turn means that they are more active and thus more prone to reactions such as oxidation. However, when an amorphous material is maintained at a temperature below its glass transition temperature, its molecules are substantially immobilized and thus less prone to reactions. Likewise, when a crystalline material is maintained at a temperature below its phase transition temperature, its molecules are substantially immobilized and thus less prone to reactions. Accordingly, processing drug components at mild conditions, such as the deposition and sintering conditions described herein, minimizes cross-reactions and degradation of the drug component. One type of reaction that is minimized by the processes of the invention relates to the ability to avoid conventional solvents which in turn minimizes autoxidation of drug, whether in amorphous, semi-crystalline, or crystalline form, by reducing exposure thereof to free radicals, residual solvents and autoxidation initiators.

[0076] "Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions" or "RESS" as used herein involves the dissolution of a polymer into a compressed fluid, typically a supercritical fluid, followed by rapid expansion into a chamber at lower pressure, typically near atmospheric conditions. The rapid expansion of the supercritical fluid solution through a small opening, with its accompanying decrease in density, reduces the dissolution capacity of the fluid and results in the nucleation and growth of polymer particles. The atmosphere of the chamber is maintained in an electrically neutral state by maintaining an isolating "cloud" of gas in the chamber. Carbon dioxide or other appropriate gas is employed to prevent electrical charge is transferred from the substrate to the surrounding environment.

[0077] "Bulk properties" properties of a coating including a pharmaceutical or a biological agent that can be enhanced through the methods of the invention include for example: adhesion, smoothness, conformality, thickness, and compositional mixing.

[0078] "Solution Enhanced Dispersion of Supercritical Solutions" or "SEDS" as used herein involves a spray process for the generation of polymer particles, which are formed when a compressed fluid (e.g. supercritical fluid, preferably supercritical CO.sub.2) is used as a diluent to a vehicle in which a polymer dissolved, (one that can dissolve both the polymer and the compressed gas). The mixing of the compressed fluid diluent with the polymer-containing solution may be achieved by encounter of a first stream containing the polymer solution and a second stream containing the diluent compressed fluid, for example, within one co-axial spray nozzle or by the use of multiple spray nozzles or by the use of multiple fluid streams co-entering into a mixing zone. The solvent in the polymer solution may be one compound or a mixture of two or more ingredients and may be or comprise an alcohol (including diols, triols, etc.), ether, amine, ketone, carbonate, or alkanes, or hydrocarbon (aliphatic or aromatic) or may be a mixture of compounds, such as mixtures of alkanes, or mixtures of one or more alkanes in combination with additional compounds such as one or more alcohols. (e.g., from 0 or 0.1 to 5% of a C.sub.1 to C.sub.15 alcohol, including diols, triols, etc.). See for example U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,785. The solvent may optionally contain a surfactant, as also described in (for example) U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,785.

[0079] In one embodiment of the SEDS process, a first stream of fluid comprising a polymer dissolved in a common solvent is co-sprayed with a second stream of compressed fluid. Polymer particles are produced as the second stream acts as a diluent that weakens the solvent in the polymer solution of the first stream. The now combined streams of fluid, along with the polymer particles, flow into a collection vessel. In another embodiment of the SEDS process, a first stream of fluid comprising a drug dissolved in a common solvent is co-sprayed with a second stream of compressed fluid. Drug particles are produced as the second stream acts as a diluent that weakens the solvent in the drug solution of the first stream. The now combined streams of fluid, along with the drug particles, flow out into a collection vessel. Control of particle size, particle size distribution, and morphology is achieved by tailoring the following process variables: temperature, pressure, solvent composition of the first stream, flow-rate of the first stream, flow-rate of the second stream, composition of the second stream (where soluble additives may be added to the compressed gas), and conditions of the capture vessel. Typically the capture vessel contains a fluid phase that is at least five to ten times (5-10.times.) atmospheric pressure.

[0080] "Electrostatically charged" or "electrical potential" or "electrostatic capture" as used herein refers to the collection of the spray-produced particles upon a substrate that has a different electrostatic potential than the sprayed particles. Thus, the substrate is at an attractive electronic potential with respect to the particles exiting, which results in the capture of the particles upon the substrate. i.e. the substrate and particles are oppositely charged, and the particles transport through the fluid medium of the capture vessel onto the surface of the substrate is enhanced via electrostatic attraction. This may be achieved by charging the particles and grounding the substrate or conversely charging the substrate and grounding the particles, or by some other process, which would be easily envisaged by one of skill in the art of electrostatic capture.

[0081] "Open vessel" as used herein refers to a vessel open to the outside atmosphere, and thus at substantially the same temperature and pressure as the outside atmosphere.

[0082] "Closed vessel" as used herein refers to a vessel sealed from the outside atmosphere, and thus may be at significantly different temperatures and pressures to the outside atmosphere.

EXAMPLES

[0083] The following examples are given to enable those skilled in the art to more clearly understand and to practice the present invention. They should not be considered as limiting the scope of the invention, but merely as being illustrative and representative thereof.

Example 1.

[0084] Dry powder rapamycin coating on an electrically charged 316 stainless steel coupon.

[0085] A 1 cm.times.2 cm stainless steel metal coupon serving as a target substrate for rapamycin coating was placed in a vessel and attached to a high voltage electrode. The vessel (V), of approximately 1500 cm.sup.3 volume, was equipped with two separate nozzles through which rapamycin or polymers could be selectively introduced into the vessel. Both nozzles were grounded. Additionally, the vessel (V) was equipped with a separate port was available for purging the vessel. Upstream of one nozzle (D) was a small pressure vessel (PV) approximately 5 cm.sup.3 in volume with three ports to be used as inlets and outlets. Each port was equipped with a valve which could be actuated opened or closed. One port, port (1) used as an inlet, was an addition port for the dry powdered rapamycin. Port (2), also an inlet was used to feed pressurized gas, liquid, or supercritical fluid into PV. Port (3), used as an outlet, was used to connect the pressure vessel (PV) with nozzle (D) contained in the primary vessel (V) with the target coupon. Dry powdered rapamycin obtained from LC Laboratories in a predominantly crystalline solid state, 50 mg milled to an average particle size of approximately 3 microns, was loaded into (PV) through port (1) then port (1) was actuated to the closed position. Gaseous carbon dioxide was then added to (PV) to a pressure of 400 to 600 psig at 20.degree. C. through port (2), then port (2) was closed to the source gas. The metal coupon was then charged to 40 kV using a Glassman Series EL high-voltage power source. Port (3) was then actuated open allowing for the expansion of the pressurized carbon dioxide and rapamycin powder into the vessel (V) while the coupon remained charged. After approximately 60-seconds the voltage was eliminated and the coupon was isolated. Upon visual inspection of the coupon using an optical microscope it was determined that the entire surface area of the coupon, other than a small portion masked by the voltage lead, was covered in a relatively even distribution of powdered material. X-ray diffraction (XRD) confirmed that the powdered material was largely crystalline in nature as deposited on the metal coupon. UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopy confirmed that the material deposited on the coupon was rapamycin.

Example 2.

[0086] Dry powder rapamycin coating on a 316-stainless steel coupon with no electrical charge.

[0087] A coupon was coated in an identical fashion to what was described in Example 1. However, no voltage was applied to the coupon throughout the dry powder-coating run. After expansion of the carbon dioxide and the powdered rapamycin into vessel (V), and a period of roughly 60 seconds, the coupon was isolated and evaluated. The coupon was analyzed using an optical microscope and showed some dry powder material on much of the surface of the coupon. However, the coverage of drug on the surface was much lower than in example 1 and there was notably more variability in coverage at different locations on the coupon surface. The total powder coating was estimated to be about 1/3rd the amount determined to be crystalline rapamycin in example 1.

Example 3.

[0088] Polymer coating on an electrically charged 316-stainless steel coupon using rapid expansion from a liquefied gas.

[0089] A coating apparatus as described in example 1 above was used in the foregoing example. In this example the second nozzle, nozzle (P), was used to feed precipitated polymer particles into vessel (V) to coat a 316-stainless steel coupon. Nozzle (P) was equipped with a heater and controller to minimize heat loss due to the expansion of liquefied gases. Upstream of nozzle (P) was a pressure vessel, (PV2), with approximately 25 -cm3 internal volume. The pressure vessel (PV2) was equipped with multiple ports to be used for inlets, outlets, thermocouples, and pressure transducers. Additionally, (PV2) was equipped with a heater and a temperature controller. Each port was connected to the appropriate valves, metering valves, pressure regulators, or plugs to ensure adequate control of material into and out of the pressure vessel (PV2). One outlet from (PV2) was connected to a metering valve through pressure rated tubing which was then connected to nozzle (P) located in vessel (V). In the experiment, 75 mg of polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) obtained from Aldrich Chemical Company with approximately 33-weight percent vinyl acetate and 75 mg of poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) also obtained from Aldrich Chemical Company were added to pressure vessel (PV2). Dichlorofluoromethane, 20.0 grams, was added to the pressure vessel (PV2) through a valve and inlet. Pressure vessel (PV2) was then heated to 40oC bringing the pressure inside the isolated vessel to approximately 40 psig. Nozzle (P) was heated to 120.degree. C. After sufficient time to dissolve the two polymers in the liquefied gas inside (PV2), the vessel (PV2) was over-pressurized with helium to approximately 200 psig using a source helium tank and a dual stage pressure regulator. See U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,555 for a description of Helium displacement art. A 1-cm.times.2-cm 316-stainless steel coupon was placed into vessel (V) and attached to an electrical lead. Nozzle (P) was attached to ground. The coupon was charged to 40 kV using a Glassman high-voltage power source at which point the metering valve was opened between (PV2) and nozzle (P) in pressure vessel (PV). Polymer dissolved in liquefied gas and over-pressurized with helium to 200 psig was fed at a constant pressure of 200 psig into vessel (V) maintained at atmospheric pressure through nozzle (P) at an approximate rate of 3.0 cm.sup.3/min. After approximately 5 seconds, the metering valve was closed discontinuing the polymer-solvent feed. Vessel (V) was purged with gaseous CO.sub.2 for 30 seconds to displace chlorofluorcarbon. After approximately 30 seconds, the metering valve was again opened for a period of approximately 5 seconds and then closed. This cycle was repeated about 4 times. After an additional 1-minute the applied voltage to the coupon was discontinued and the coupon was removed from pressure vessel (V). Upon inspection by optical microscope, a polymer coating was evident as evenly distributed on all non-masked surfaces of the coupon. Dissolution of the polymer mixture from the surface of the coupon followed by quantification using standardized quantitative FT-IR methods determined a composition of approximately 1:1 PEVA to PBMA on the coupon.

Example 4.

[0090] Dual coating of a metal coupon with crystalline rapamycin, and 1:1 mixture of polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA).

[0091] An apparatus described in example `1` and further described in example `3` was used in the foregoing example. In preparation for the coating experiment, 25 mg of crystalline powdered rapamycin with an average particle size of 3-microns was added to (PV) through port (1), then port (1) was closed. Then, (PV) was pressurized to 400-600 psig with gaseous carbon dioxide at 20.degree. C. through port (2), prior to closing port (2). Next, 75 mg of polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) with approximately 33-weight percent vinyl acetate and 75 mg of poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) were added to pressure vessel (PV2). Dichlorofluoromethane, 20.0 grams, was added to the pressure vessel (PV2) through a valve and inlet. Pressure vessel (PV2) was then heated to 40.degree. C. bringing the pressure inside the isolated vessel (PV2) to approximately 40 psig. Nozzle (P) was heated to 120.degree. C. After sufficient time to dissolve the two polymers in the liquefied gas, the vessel was over-pressurized with helium to approximately 200 psig using a source helium tank and a dual stage pressure regulator. A 1-cm.times.2-cm 316-stainless steel coupon was added to vessel (V) and connected to a high-voltage power lead. Both nozzles (D) and (P) were grounded. To begin, the coupon was charged to 40 kV after which port (3) connecting (PV) containing rapamycin to nozzle (D) was opened allowing expansion of carbon dioxide and ejection of rapamycin into vessel (V) maintained at ambient pressure. After closing port (3) and approximately 60-seconds, the metering valve connecting (PV2) with nozzle (P) inside vessel (V) was opened allowing for expansion of liquefied gas to a gas phase and introduction of precipitated polymer particles into vessel (V) while maintaining vessel (V) at ambient pressure. After approximately 5-seconds at a feed rate of approximately 3 cm.sup.3/min., the metering valve was closed while the coupon remained charged. Port (1) was then opened and an additional 25-mg of powdered crystalline rapamycin was added to (PV), and then port (1) was closed. Pressure vessel (PV) was then pressurized with liquid carbon dioxide to 400-600 psig through port (2), after which port (2) was again closed. Maintaining the coupon at an applied voltage of 40 kV, port (3) was again opened to nozzle (D) allowing for the expansion of carbon dioxide to a gas and the ejection of the powdered crystalline drug into the vessel (V). After and additional 60-seconds, the metering valve between (PV2) and nozzle (P) was again opened allowing for the expansion of the liquefied solvent to a gas into vessel (V) and the precipitation of polymer particles also in vessel (V). The sequential addition of drug followed by polymer or polymer followed by drug as described above was repeated for a total of four (4) cycles after which the applied potential was removed from the coupon and the coupon was removed from the vessel. The coupon was then examined using an optical microscope. A consistent coating was visible on all surfaces of the coupon except where the coupon was masked by the electrical lead. The coating appeared conformal but opaque and somewhat granular at high magnification.

Example 5.

[0092] Dual coating of a metal coupon with crystalline rapamycin, and 1:1 mixture of polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) followed by Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Annealing or Gaseous Carbon Dioxide Annealing.

[0093] After inspection of the coupon created in example 4, the coated coupon was carefully placed in a pressure vessel that was pressurized with carbon dioxide to a pressure of 4500 psig and at a temperature of 60.degree. C. This CO.sub.2 sintering process was done to enhance the physical properties of the film on the coupon. The coupon remained in the vessel under these conditions for approximately 3 hours after which the supercritical CO.sub.2 was slowly vented from the pressure vessel and then the coupon was removed and reexamined under an optical microscope. The coating was observed to be conformal, consistent, and semi-transparent as opposed to the opaque coating observed and reported in example 4 without dense carbon dioxide treatment. The coated coupon was then submitted for x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis to confirm the presence of crystalline rapamycin in the polymer matrix. XRD confirmed the presence of crystalline rapamycin.

Example 6.

[0094] Dual coating of a metal cardiovascular stent with crystalline rapamycin, and 1:1 mixture of polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and poly (butyl methacrylate) (PBMA).

[0095] The apparatus described in examples 1, 3, and 4 above was used in the foregoing example. The metal stent used was a Tristar.TM. Coronary Stent of a nominal size of 3 mm by 13 mm. The stent was coated in an identical fashion to the coupon described in example 4 above. The stent was coated in an alternating fashion whereby the first coating layer of drug was followed by a thin layer of polymer. These two steps, called a drug/polymer cycle, were repeated 3-times so that the last applied coating layer was polymer. After completion of the coating step, the stent was removed from the vessel (V) and placed in a small pressure vessel where it was exposed to supercritical CO.sub.2 as described above in example 4. After this low temperature annealing step, the stent was removed and examined using an optical microscope. The stent was then analyzed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with a fast ion bombarding (FIB) device to provide cross-sectional analysis of the coated stent. The SEM micrograph at multiple locations on the stent indicated a completely conformal coating of between 6 and 15-microns in thickness. Evidence of rapamycin crystallites was also apparent in the micrographs.

Example 7.

[0096] Layered coating of a cardiovascular stent with an anti-restenosis therapeutic and polymer in layers to control drug elution characteristics.

[0097] A cardiovascular stent is coated using the methods described in examples `5` and `6` above. The stent is coated in such as way that the drug and polymer are in alternating layers. The first application to the bare stent is a thin layer of a non-resorbing polymer, approximately 2-microns thick. The second layer is a therapeutic agent with anti-restenosis indication. Approximately 35 micrograms are added in this second layer. A third layer of polymer is added at approximately 2-microns thick, followed by a fourth drug layer which is composed of about 25 micrograms of the anti-restenosis agent. A fifth polymer layer, approximately 1-micron thick is added to stent, followed by the sixth layer that includes the therapeutic agent of approximately 15-micrograms. Finally, a last polymer layer is added to a thickness of about 2-microns. After the coating procedure, the stent is annealed using carbon dioxide as described in example 4 above. In this example a drug eluting stent (DES) is described with low initial drug "burst" properties by virtue of a "sequestered drug layering" process, not possible in conventional solvent-based coating processes. Additionally, by virtue of a higher concentration of drug at the stent `inter-layer` the elution profile is expected to reach as sustained therapeutic release over a longer period of time.

Example 8.

[0098] Layered coating of a cardiovascular stent with an anti-restenosis therapeutic and an anti-thrombotic therapeutic in a polymer matrix.

[0099] A cardiovascular stent is coated as described in example 7 above. In this example, after a first polymer layer of approximately 2-microns thick, a drug with anti-thrombotic indication is added in a layer of less than 2-microns in thickness. A third layer consisting of the non-resorbing polymer is added to a thickness of about 4-microns. Next another drug layer is added, a different therapeutic, with an anti-restenosis indication. This layer contains approximately 100 micrograms of the anti-restenosis agent. Finally, a polymer layer approximately 2-microns in thickness is added to the stent. After coating the stent is treated as described in example 4 to anneal the coating using carbon dioxide.

Example 9.

[0100] Coating of stents with Rapamycin, polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA)

[0101] Micronized Rapamycin was purchased from LC Laboratories. PBMA (Mw=.about.237 k) and PEVA (33% vinyl acetate content) were purchased from Aldrich Chemicals. Two kinds of stents were used: 3 mm TriStar.RTM. from Guidant and 6 cell.times.8-mm, BX Velocity.RTM. from Cordis. The stents were coated by dry electrostatic capture followed by supercritical fluid sintering, using 3 stents/coating run and 3 runs/data set. The coating apparatus is represented in FIG. 2. Analysis of the coated stents was performed by multiple techniques on both stents and coupons with relevant control experiments.

[0102] In this example a 1:1 ratio of PEVA and PBMA is dissolved in a Dichlorofluoromethane (CCl.sub.2FH), which is a compressed gas solvent known to be in the class of "Freon" chemicals. The physical properties of this particular Freon are as follows:

BP=8.9 C

Tc=178.33 C

[0103] Pc=751.47 psig Dc=0.526014 g/cc

[0104] A solution was formed by mixing 30 mg of the combined polymers per gram dichlorofluoromethane . The solution was then maintained at 60.degree. C. at vapor pressure (approx 28 psig) until the solution was ready to spray. The solution was then pressurized by adding an immiscible gas to the top of the vessel--typically Helium. Adding Helium compressed the Freon+polymer solution up to 700 (+/-50 psig), which resulted in a compressed fluid. The polymer+Freon solution was then pushed through a nozzle having an inner diameter of 0.005'' by continuous addition of Helium into the vessel. The solvent (dichlorofluoromethane) is rapidly vaporized coming out of the nozzle (which is heated to 120 C),as it's boiling point is significantly below room temperature.

The Drug is deposited by dry powder spray coating. Between 10-30 mg of drug are charged into a small volume of tubing, which is then pressurized with gaseous CO.sub.2 to 400 psig. The mixture flows through a nozzle having an inner diameter of 0.187'' into the coating vessel where the stents are held. During electrostatic deposition, the stent is charged and the nozzles are grounded. FIGS. 1 and 2 show the apparatus used for the coating and sintering process.

Example 10.

[0105] Optical Microscopy Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents

The stents produced in example 9 were examined by optical microscopy, at 40.times. magnification with back and side lighting. This method was used to provide a coarse qualitative representation of coating uniformity and to generally demonstrate the utility of the low-temperature CO.sub.2 annealing step. The resulting photos shown in FIG. 3, demonstrate the differences in appearance (a) before and (b) after annealing in dense carbon dioxide at 40.degree. C. Photos of the outside, edge and inside surfaces are presented in FIG. 4 (a), prior to sintering, which clearly shows nanoparticle deposition equally on all surfaces of the stent, and 4 (b) after sintering, with the film showing a smooth and optically transparent polymer. FIG. 5 shows additional 40.times. magnified images of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA coated stents, showing the outside and inside surfaces, (a) before sintering, further demonstrating the nanoparticle deposition equally on all surfaces of the stent and (b) after sintering, showing a smooth and optically transparent polymer film. FIG. 6 shows a 100.times. magnified mages of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA Coated Stents. Crystalline drug is clearly visible embedded within a highly uniform polymer coating.

Example 11.

[0106] Scanning Electron Microscopy Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents

[0107] The stents produced in example 9 were examined by scanning electron microscopy, and the resulting images presented in FIGS. 7 at (a) .times.30 magnification, (b) .times.250 magnification, (c) .times.1000 magnification and (d) .times.3000 magnification. Clearly the nanoparticles have been sintered to an even and conformal film, with a surface topology of less than 5 microns, and demonstrate clear evidence of embedded crystalline rapamycin.

Cross-sectional (FIB) images were also acquired and are shown in FIG. 8(a) at 7000.times. and (b) 20000.times. magnification. An even coating of consistent thickness is visible. Four cross-sectional thicknesses were measured: (1) 10.355 .mu.M, (2) 10.412 .mu.M, (3) 10.043 .mu.M and (4) 10.157 .mu.M, to give an average thickness of 10.242 .mu.M, with only 2% (.+-.0.2 .mu.M) variation.

Example 12.

[0108] Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents

[0109] The stents produced in example 9 were examined by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Control analyses s of PEVA only, PBMA only and Rapamycin only are shown in FIG. 9 (a), (b) and (c) respectively. The DSC of the Rapamycin, PEVA and PBMA coated stent is shown in FIG. 9 (d). The rapamycin crystalline melt is clearly visible at 185-200.degree. C. and distinct from those of the polymers.

Example 13.

[0110] X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents

[0111] The stents produced in example 9 were examined by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). The control spectrum of micro-ionized Rapamycin powder is shown in FIG. 10 (a). The XRD of the Rapamycin, PEVA and PBMA coated, sintered stent is shown in FIG. 10 (b), showing that the Rapamycin remains crystalline (64%) throughout the coating and sintering process.

Example 14.

[0112] Confocal Raman Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents

[0113] The stents produced in example 9 were examined by Confocal Raman Analysis, to provide depth profiling from the coating surface down to the metal stent. FIG. 11 (a) shows the Rapamycin depth profile outside circumference (Rapamycin peak at .about.1620) and 11 (b) shows the polymer depth profile outside circumference, clearly demonstrating that the drug is distributed throughout polymer coated stents. The highest drug content appears in the center of the polymer coating (.about.4 .mu.M from the air surface), which is controllable, via the coating and sintering conditions used. In certain embodiments of the invention, the drug would be close to the air surface of the coating. In other embodiments, the drug would be closer to the metal stent. In other embodiments, more than one drug would be deposited in the coating, wherein one drug would be closer to the air surface and another drug would be closer to the metal surface. In yet other embodiments, the drugs would be distributed together throughout the coating.

Example 15.

[0114] UV-Vis and FT-IR Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents for Quantification of Coating Components

[0115] A UV-VIS method was developed and used to quantitatively determine the mass of rapamycin coated onto the stents with poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (PEVA) and poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA). The UV-Vis spectrum of Rapamycin is shown in FIG. 12 (a) and a Rapamycin calibration curve was obtained, .lamda.@277 nm in ethanol, as shown in FIG. 12 (b). Rapamycin was dissolved from the coated stent in ethanol, and the drug concentration and mass calculated. An average mass of 74.+-.11 .mu.g Rapamycin was loaded onto the stents. The results in FIG. 13 (a) show a consistent drug coating: (+/-) 15% stent-to-stent, (+/-) 12% run-to-run, (mean concentrations (3 stents each); 4 cell by 8 mm parylene coated).

[0116] An FT-IR method was developed and used to quantitatively determine the mass of PEVA and PBMA coated onto stents with rapamycin. The FT-IR spectra of PEVA and PBMA is shown in FIG. 12 (c) and calibration curves were obtained using Beer's Law for PEVA .lamda.@.about.1050 cm.sup.1 and PBMA .lamda.@.about.1285 cm.sup.-1, as shown in FIGS. 12(d) and (e), respectively. The polymers were dissolved from the coated stent in methylene chloride, and the polymer concentrations and the masses calculated accordingly. An average mass of 1060.+-.190 .mu.g PEVA and 1110.+-.198 .mu.g PBMA was loaded onto the stents. The results in FIGS. 13 (b) and (c) show a consistent polymer coating: (+/-) 18% stent-to-stent, (+/-) 15% run-to-run, (mean concentrations (3 stents each); 4 cell by 8 mm parylene coated).

Example 16.

[0117] Coating of stents with with Paclitaxel/PEVA/PMBA

[0118] 3 mm Guidant TriStar.RTM. Stents were coated with a Paclitaxel/PEVA/PMBA composite, by processes of the invention, as described herein. The coated stents were examined by optical microscopy, and photos of the outside surface of the stent (a) prior to sintering and (b) after sintering are shown in FIG. 14. FIG. 15 (a) represents the UV-Vis calibration curve developed for Paclitaxel, .lamda.@228 nm in ethanol, using the methods of example 15, as described above. Rapamycin was dissolved from the coated stent in ethanol, and the drug concentration and mass calculated, to give an average mass of 148.+-.14 .mu.g loaded Rapamycin, as shown in FIG. 15 (b).

Example 17.

[0119] UV-Vis and FT-IR Analysis of Rapamycin/PEVA/PBM Coated Stents for Quantification of Coating Components

[0120] The UV-VIS and FT-IR methods, described in example 15, were used to determine the quantities of Rapamycin, PEVA and PBMA respectively, from stents coated with Rapamycin, PEVA and PBMA by processes of the invention, as described herein. The component quantifications are shown in FIG. 16 and calculated; (a) an average mass of 81.+-.3 .mu.g Rapamycin was loaded onto the stents, (b) an average mass of 391.+-.69 .mu.g PEVA and (c) 268.+-.64 .mu.g PBMA was loaded onto the stents.

Example 18.

[0121] Coating of stents with Rapamycin or Paclitaxel, polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA)

[0122] A 25 mL stainless steel reservoir is charged with 150.0.+-.0.1 mg of poly(ethylene co-vinyl acetate) (PEVA) and 150.0.+-.0.1 mg of poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) to which is transferred 20.0.+-.0.3 grams of dichlorofluoromethane. The pressure rises in the reservoir to approximately 28 psig. The reservoir is heated to 60.degree. C. after transferring dichlorofluoromethane to the reservoir. The reservoir is then pressurized with helium until the pressure reaches 700.+-.30 psig. Helium acts as a piston to push out the dichlorofluoromethane-polymer solution. The reservoir is isolated from the system by appropriate valving. A second stainless steel reservoir with volume of 15.+-.1 mL is charged with 13 mg of drug compound (rapamycin or Paclitaxel). This reservoir is pressurized to 400.+-.5 psig with carbon dioxide gas. The temperature of the drug reservoir is room temperature. The reservoir is isolated from the system by appropriate valving. A third reservoir is charged with tetrahydrofuran or dichloromethane solvent so that the polymer nozzle can be flushed between polymer sprays. This reservoir is also pressurized with helium to 700 psig and isolated from the system by appropriate valving. The polymer spray nozzle is heated to 120.+-.2.degree. C. while the drug spray nozzle remains at room temperature. Stents are loaded into the stent fixture and attached to a high voltage source via an alligator clamp. The alligator clamp enters the coating chamber via an electrically insulated pass through. Carbon dioxide gas is admitted into the coating vessel at 8 psig for a period of 5 minutes through a third gas flush nozzle to remove air and moisture to eliminate arcing between the nozzles and components held at high potential. After flushing the coating chamber with carbon dioxide gas, a potential of 35 kV is applied to the stents via a high voltage generator. This potential is maintained during each coating step of polymer and drug. The potential is removed when the polymer spray nozzle is flushed with tetrahydrofuran or dichloromethane. Polymer solution is sprayed for 7 secs from the polymer solution reservoir into the coating chamber. The applied potential is turned off and the polymer nozzle is removed from the coating chamber and flushed with solvent for 2 minutes and then flushed with helium gas for approximately one minute until all solvent is removed from the nozzle. The coating chamber is flushed with carbon dioxide gas during the nozzle solvent flush to flush out dichlorofluoromethane gas. The polymer spray nozzle is placed back in the coating chamber and the carbon dioxide gas flush is stopped. A 35 kV potential is applied to the stents and the drug compound is rapidly sprayed into the coating chamber by opening appropriate valving. After one minute of rest time, polymer spray commences for another seven seconds. The process can be repeated with any number of cycles.

[0123] While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described herein, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. Numerous variations, changes, and substitutions will now occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. It should be understood that various alternatives to the embodiments of the invention described herein may be employed in practicing the invention. It is intended that the following claims define the scope of the invention and that methods and structures within the scope of these claims and their equivalents be covered thereby.

[0124] The various analytical methods developed to examine the coated stents and the results they generated are summarized in the table below:

TABLE-US-00001 Analytical Method To Provide Result Optical Visible images of the stents. Nanoparticles deposited evenly microscope on all surfaces of stent Empirical survey of coating uniformity Sintering to conformal film (with visual evidence of crystalline drug) SEM Top-down and cross-sectional images Very smooth and conformal films (electron micrographs) at various at high magnification magnifications. 10.2 .+-. 0.3 .mu.m well-sintered films Gross estimates of coating uniformity via cross-sectional analysis and thickness X-ray diffraction Quantitative indication of drug +65% crystalline rapamycin on (XRD) morphology in coated films on proxy proxy samples substrates Differential Scanning Qualitative evidence of crystalline Demonstrated rapamycin Calorimetry (DSC) rapamycin from proxy substrates crystalline melt (185-200.degree. C.) (crystalline melt) Confocal Raman Compositional data (drug, polymer A, Drug distributed throughout Polymer B) at various depths in the film polymer coated stents on the coated stents (i.e. surface, 2 .mu.m deep, 4-.mu.m deep, etc.) UV-Vis Quantitative compositional information 74 .+-. 11 .mu.g drug loaded onto Spectroscopy for drug loading on `sacrificial` coated stents, run-to-run control within stents, BL method 12% deviation FT-IR Quantitative compositional information 1060 .+-. 190 .mu.g PEVA loaded spectroscopy for loading of both polymers on onto stents `sacrificial` coated stents, BL method 1110 .+-. 198 .mu.g PBMA loaded onto stents

Example 19.

[0125] Preparation of supercritical solution comprising, polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA) in isobutylene.

[0126] 75 mg of PEVA and 75 mg of PBMA are placed in a 25 mL view cell. The view cell is heated to 150.degree. C. Isobutylene is added to a pressure of 3000 psig. Under these conditions, a clear solution is produced.

Example 20.

[0127] Preparation of supercritical solution comprising polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA) in isobutylene.

150 mg of PEVA and 150 mg of PBMA are placed in a 25 mL view cell. The view cell is heated to 150.degree. C. Isobutylene is added to a pressure of 4000 psig. Under these conditions, a clear solution is produced.

Example 21.

[0128] Preparation of supercritical solution comprising polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA) in isobutylene and CO.sub.2.

75 mg of PEVA and 75 mg of PBMA are placed in a 25 mL view cell and the cell is heated to 150.degree. C. Isobutylene is added to a pressure of 4000 psig, to produce a clear solution. 10 (v/v%) CO.sub.2 is added. The addition of CO.sub.2 at this volume percent does not precipitate the dissolved polymer.

Example 22.

[0129] Preparation of supercritical solution comprising polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (PEVA) and polybutyl methacrylate (PBMA) in isobutylene and CO.sub.2.

150 mg of PEVA and 150 mg of PBMA are placed in a 25 mL view cell and the cell is heated to 150.degree. C. Isobutylene is added to a pressure of 4000 psig, to produce a clear solution. 10 (v/v%) CO.sub.2 is added. The addition of CO.sub.2 at this volume percent does not precipitate the dissolved polymer; however addition of CO.sub.2 at higher volume fraction leads to polymer precipitation, under these conditions.

Example 23.

[0130] This example illustrates how the present invention provides a method for optimal design of therapeutic profiles using both anti-restenosis and anti-thrombotic compounds to address both short and long-term safety of drug-eluting stents. This approach which includes multi-drug formulations in biodegradable polymers has the potential to provide improved benefits for both patients and clinicians. The example illustrates an embodiment of the invention to deliver drug-eluting stents by maintaining morphology of therapeutic compounds and providing manufacturing processes that apply discrete and independent therapies within a single, multi-therapy coating under these conditions.

[0131] As discussed above, many processes for spray coating stents require that drug and polymer be dissolved in solvent or mutual solvent before spray coating can occur. The present invention provides a method to spray coat stents with drug(s) and polymer(s) in independent steps under conditions that do not require dissolved drug and separates drug and polymer spraying into individual steps. This capability allows discrete placement of drug within a polymer matrix and makes possible placing more than one drug on a single medical device with or without an intervening polymer layer. Discrete deposition and elution of a dual drug coated drug eluting stent using the present invention is summarized below.

[0132] Methods: Taxol (98% purity) was purchased from Toronto Research Chemicals. Heparin was purchased from Polysciences, Inc. Polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (33% w/w vinyl acetate) and Polybutylmethacrylate were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich and used without further purification. All solvents unless otherwise noted were supplied by Sigma-Aldrich and were spectrophotometric grade and used without further purification. Three stents manufactured to requested specifications (Burpee Materials Technology, L.L.C.) were coated simultaneously. Polymer was applied to stents using an electrostatic rapid expansion of a supercritical solution method (RESS) as described above while Heparin and Taxol were applied to stents using a dry powder coating method also described above. Heparin was deposited prior to depositing Taxol with an intervening polymer layer. Heparin was analyzed by UV-Vis spectrophotometry (Ocean Optics) and quantified using the Beer-Lambert relationship using an Azure A assay while Taxol was determined directly from the elution medium at 227 nm. Coated stents were removed from the coating chamber and sintered at 30.degree. C. and approximately 4 bar using the sintering method described above. Taxol drug elution from the polymer matrix was completed by eluting stents in phosphate buffered saline at pH 7.4 with added tween 20 (0.05% w/w) in a thermostatically controlled temperature bath held at 37.degree. C. An aqueous media was used to elute heparin from the polymer matrix. Because of surfactant interference with the azure A assay, heparin elution was quantitatively determined separately from Taxol.

[0133] Results: Heparin was loaded on the stent at 70 micrograms and Taxol was loaded on the stent at 78 micrograms. The total polymer mass deposited on the stent was 2.1 milligrams. Heparin and Taxol elution was monitored for 15 days. FIG. 24 shows the cumulative mass of heparin eluted as well as the elution rate. The ability of azure A to continue to bind to heparin suggests that no chemical reaction between heparin and Taxol occurs.

[0134] In summary, in certain embodiments, the present invention provides a method for coating drug-eluting stents. Polymer(s) and drug(s) are applied in a controlled, low-temperature, solvent-free process. In one embodiment Rapamycin, PBMA and PEVA are applied to provide a conformal, consistent coating at target Rapamycin loading, in a 1:1 mixture of PBMA:PEVA, at a thickness of .about.10 .mu.M, containing zero residual solvent. The Rapamycin is deposited in crystalline morphology (+50%). The Rapamycin/PEVA/PBMA film is applied using a dry process, wherein the drug and polymer content is highly controllable, and easily adaptable for different drugs, different (resorbable and permanent) polymers, multiple drugs on a single stent, and provides for a high degree of stent-to-stent precision. The absence of traditional solvents during deposition enables control over drug content at variable film depths.

[0135] While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described herein, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. Numerous variations, changes, and substitutions will now occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. It should be understood that various alternatives to the embodiments of the invention described herein may be employed in practicing the invention. It is intended that the following claims define the scope of the invention and that methods and structures within the scope of these claims and their equivalents be covered thereby.

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