Bilosomes: vehicles for oral delivery of drugs and vaccines


Oral administration remains the favoured method of drug delivery by patients. For a drug to be successfully absorbed by the body it requires the active molecule to transit through the stomach and then to be transferred across the intestinal wall to the bloodstream. For a majority of vaccines and biologic therapeutics this is not an option due to a 1% uptake of the dose given.

Approximately 1/3 of small molecule drugs also face oral absorption challenges - many of these are focussed on CNS targets.


Scientists at Strathclyde have developed Bilosomes, bile salt stabilised vesicles that act as an envelope to protect their contents from the harsh environment of the gut enabling oral administration. The system was well tolerated in in vivo toxicology studies.

Key benefits

  • low toxicity envelope suitable for a wide range of therapeutic agents
  • immune response can be manipulated through control of the size of the carrying vesicle
  • removes the cold-chain requirement for preparations such as vaccine
  • provides new delivery system improving patient compliance, ease-of-administration andpotentially providing extended patent life

Markets & applications

Bilosomes have proven effective in the delivery of vaccines and can be applied to the delivery of biological therapeutics and traditional small molecule drugs.

Licesning & development

The technology is covered by granted patent [US 5,876,721 and EP 0722341B1). IP has been filed relating to the use of novel lipids and an improved manufacturing process that significantly reduces the time to produce the vesicles and uses a green-synthesis method.