Published in: International Journal of Pharmaceutics
Published on: March 5, 2022
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has become an emerging tool for human gene therapies. Currently, AAV gene therapies are subjected to multiple freeze–thaw cycles during manufacturing, storage, transportation, and administration. While studies have shown that multiple freeze–thaw cycles led to a decrease in transduction efficiency, the AAV degradation mechanism during freeze–thaw is not well understood. Here, we have characterized the impact of freeze–thaw on AAV8 by employing a variety of assays, which revealed significant increases in the amount of free single–stranded DNA (ssDNA) in AAV8 formulations after multiple freeze–thaw cycles. Subsequent analysis using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) revealed that the ssDNA primarily consisted of genome DNA, indicating that the increased ssDNA leaked out from AAV8. Experiments performed using different serotypes of AAV confirmed the pervasiveness of such behavior amongst AAVs. In addition, formulation screening studies were performed to understand the impact on genome DNA leakage from AAV. The formulation screening results showed that the addition of 10% sucrose and 0.1% poloxamer 188 to Dulbecco’s phosphate-buffered saline (DPBS) reduced the leakage of ssDNA in AAV samples after freeze–thaw cycles compared to the base formulation of DPBS alone. These findings shed new light on the degradation mechanism of AAVs and stabilization of the AAV–based gene therapies.