Wim Hennink is head of the Department of Pharmaceutics and an expert on the design and application of biodegradable polymers for pharmaceutical and biomedical purposes. Prof. Wim Hennink obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1985 at the Twente University of Technology (The Netherlands) with a thesis on biomaterials research. From 1985 until 1992 he had different positions in industry. In 1992, he was appointed as Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Utrecht. Currently, he is Head of the Department of Pharmaceutics, a position he took in 1996. From 1997. he is editor of the Journal of Controlled Release. From 2019-2011 he was vice dean of the Faculty of Sciences and from 2012-2015 scientific director of the Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. At present he is head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Wim Hennink’s research is focused around the design and characterization of biodegradable polymers for Pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. In his team novel hydrogels have been developed and investigated for the local and sustained release of biotherapeutics such as pharmaceutically active proteins. The gels are crosslinked by chemical bonds or by physical interactions such as stereo complexes and inclusion complexes. The gels degrade in time and simultaneously release their payload for days to weeks. His team further has carried out research on cationic polymers which are used for the delivery of nucleic acid based drugs. Novel generations of biodegradable polymers have been developed which are relatively safe and showed good transfection activity both in vitro as well as animal models. Recently, his team has developed so-called decationized polyplexes which show superior safety as compared to standard polymer and lipid-based transfection systems and deliver pDNA/siRNA inside cells where it is released form the polyplexes in a triggerable manner. Hennink’s team has made major contributions on the development of polymeric micelles for the targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs. An efficient core-crosslinked system has been developed that now undergoes clinical evaluation by a spin-off company (Cristal Therapeutics). Our recent work focusses on a very stable micellar systems exploiting p-p interactions and loaded with the cytostatic drug paxlitaxel, that has shown very good therapeutic effects in animal models. Our group investigates the use of hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering. Novel generations of hydrogels that can be printed and showed excellent cytocompatibility, were developed and recently investigated in preclinical models.
- Talelli M, Iman M, Varkouhi AK, Rijcken CJF, Schiffelers RM, Etrych T, Ulbrich K, van Nostrum CF Lammers T, Storm G, and Hennink WE. Core-crosslinked polymeric micelles with controlled release of covalently entrapped doxorubicin: preparation, characterization and in vivo efficacy. Biomaterials 31, 7797-7804, 2010.
- Censi R, Schuurman W, Malda J, di Dato G, Burgisser PE, Dhert WJA, van Nostrum CF, di Martino P, Vermonden T, and Hennink WE. A printable photopolymerizable thermosensitive p(HPMAm-lactate)-PEG hydrogel for tissue engineering. Advanced Functional Materials 21, 1833-1842, 2011.
- Novo L, van Gaal EV, Mastrobattista E, van Nostrum CF, Hennink WE. Decationized crosslinked polyplexes for redox-triggered gene delivery. Journal of Controlled Release 169, 246-256, 2013.
- Shi Y, van der Meel R, Theek B, Oude Blenke E, Pieters EH, Fens MH, Ehling J, Schiffelers RM, Storm G, van Nostrum CF, Lammers T, Hennink WE. Complete regression of xenograft tumors upon targeted delivery of paclitaxel via Π-Π stacking stabilized polymeric micelles. ACS Nano 9, 3740-3752, 2015.
- Vermonden T, Censi R, and Hennink WE. Hydrogels for protein delivery. Chemical Reviews 112, 2853-2888, 2012