NTx’s Dr. Arpan Desai publishes in Nanoscale on developing a high-throughput LNP screening platform

Jan 5, 2022

Development of a high-throughput platform for screening lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery

Cui et al. 05 January 2022

Featuring NanoVation’s Dr. Arpan Desai.


mRNA lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are at the forefront of nucleic acid intracellular delivery, as exemplified by the recent emergency approval of two mRNA LNP-based COVID-19 vaccines.

The success of an LNP product largely depends on the systematic optimisation of the four lipidic components, namely the ionisable lipid, PEG lipid, structural and helper lipids. However, the in vitro screening of novel lipidic components and LNP compositions is limited by the low-throughput of LNP preparation.

To address these issues, we herein present an automated high-throughput screening platform to select novel ionisable lipids and corresponding LNPs encapsulating mRNA in vitro. This high-throughput platform employs a lab-based automated liquid handling system, amenable to high-throughput (up to 384 formulations per plate and several plates per run) and allows precise mixing and reproducible mRNA LNP preparation which ensures a direct head-to-head comparison of hundreds and even thousands of novel LNPs.

Most importantly, the robotic process has been successfully applied to the screening of novel LNPs encapsulating mRNA and has identified the same novel mRNA LNP leads as those from microfluidics-mixing technology, with a correlation coefficient of 0.8751.

This high-throughput platform can facilitate to narrow down the number of novel ionisable lipids to be evaluated in vivo. Moreover, this platform has been integrated into a fully-automated workflow for LNP property control, physicochemical characterisation and biological evaluation. The high-throughput platform may accelerate proprietary lipid development, mRNA LNP lead optimisation and candidate selection to advance preclinical mRNA LNP development to meet urgent global needs.