Pulmonary Drug Delivery

Pulmonary drug delivery is essential for local administration of drugs to the lung to treat or prevent diseases such as bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary decease and cystic fibrosis. This route is also useful for systemic administration and has the potential to deliver biopharmaceuticals such as insulin, vaccines and growth hormones.

SweDeliver focuses on the following gaps in our understanding of pulmonary drug delivery: the controlled release, dissolution and absorption of drugs in the lungs and powder mechanics of adhesive mixtures useful for inhalation. The pulmonary drug delivery work package draws on the strong scientific expertise on particle performance within the pharmaceutical technology and pharmaceutical physics groups at Uppsala University.


There is a need for a fundamental understanding of factors governing the deposition, dissolution and absorption of drugs in the lung. To this end, one major aim of this project is to develop and evaluate new experimental methodologies, mathematical models and in silico tools for assessment, analysis and prediction of pulmonary drug delivery. These will in turn benefit the development of different types of formulations for inhaled medicines.

Of particular relevance to the project are formulations for controlled release, which would enable a sustained action of medicines and would facilitate new therapeutic opportunities for the inhalation area. Building on the obtained results, the ambition is to make significant contributions to the field, ultimately resulting in the development of clinically useful work packages for controlled drug delivery to the lung.


A challenge when formulating dry powders for delivery to the lungs is that the small particle size (<5 µm) required for deep lung deposition would result in a highly cohesive powder that would be demanding to handle during manufacturing and difficult to disperse during administration unless special measures are taken. The most common remedy is to formulate the powder as an adhesive mixture, in which the micronized drug particles are attached to considerably larger carrier particles that are used to impart the desired flowability and dispersability to the powder.

The aim of this project is to deliver a fundamental understanding of the factors that control the powder mechanics of such adhesive mixtures. To this end, experimental studies of carefully designed model systems are complemented by particle-dynamics and multiscale modelling approaches.

Read about Projects in the Pulmonary Drug Delivery Work package