Hanieh Khalili

Dr Hanieh Khalili


Biotherapeutics development and formulations

Department of Bioscience , School of Health, Sport and Bioscience

Hanieh Khalili is the Module leader in Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Analysis at UEL. 


  • BSc, MSc, PhD

Areas Of Interest

  • Antibody-based medicine including monoclonal antibodies, Fcfusion and scFv development, characterisation and formulation
  • Biotherapeutics development and formulations
  • Bispecific antibody mimetic for ocular disease
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Dr Khalili did her BSc and MSc in Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry in Iran. She then accomplished her PhD after completion of MSc in Drug Delivery at the UCL School of Pharmacy when she earned highest distinction on the MSc course. Her PhD was partially funded by PolyTherics for which the project was designed on PEGylation of antibody fragments (Fabs) using disulphide bridging method. Characterisation, conjugation and modification of several therapeutic antibodies  (such as bevacizumab, trastuzumab, infliximab) were studied during her PhD.

Dr Khalili did a postdoc research associate between UCL School of Pharmacy  and Institute of Ophthalmology, working with Profs Steve Brocchini and Sir Peng tee Khaw. The key focus of the post-doc was on development, and formulation of antibody mimetics such as bispecific antibodies and fusion proteins to modulate ocular healing after surgery and to develop dosage forms to inhibit inflammation, angiogenesis and fibrosis generally within the eye.  


Antibody-based medicine including monoclonal antibodies, Fcfusion and scFv development, characterisation and formulation.

Research fields

  • Biotherapeutics formulation and stability determination
  • Bispecific antibody mimetic for ocular disease


Subcutaneous formulation of antibody-based medicine; stability determination

There is an unmet clinical need to develop the stable antibody-based drug for patient self-administration (subcutaneous) for chronic diseases. The opportunity to make such a stable drug to also have a sustainable drug release profile, could potentially revolutionise healthcare by delivering new medicine with effective treatment of diseases. There are challenges to formulate protein-based drug for subcutaneous administration such as stability and viscosity since high protein concentration required to achieve the subcutaneous dose.

The main aim of this project is, therefore, to address the instability of protein of interest (such as aflibercept) at high concentrations. Different approaches are taken to address our aims such as lyophilisation method to stabilise proteins, hydrogel-based system for releasing of bioactive drug in a controlled and sustained manner.

Bispecific antibodies for ocular indication

Ocular drug delivery of biologics to the back of the eye is an important and rapidly developing field of research because of their applications in treatment of ocular neovascularisation disease such as age-macular degeneration (AMD) and inflammation (uveitis).

Most approved antibody therapies are monospecific and are only able to bind to one target epitope. Bispecific therapies can potentially interact with two different targets to provide synergistic effects for greater clinical benefit than monospecific therapies. While there are three approved bispecific antibodies for oncology, none has been approved for ocular indication.

My research group has been working on development of novel bispecific antibody mimetic to treat ocular indications. This is a collaborative research with UCL School of Pharmacy.


  • Protein Modification by Bis-alkylation. Christina Picken, Sahar Awwad, Mire Zloh, Hanieh Khalili, and Steve Brocchini (2020). Elsevier. Chapter 16.
  • Comparative thermodynamic analysis in solution of a next generation antibody mimetic to VEGF. H. Khalili P. T. Khaw, S. Brocchini, Sergey K. Filippov (2018). RSC advance. 8: 35787.
  • Anti-TNFa antibody mimetic to treat ocular inflammation. H. Khalili, R. W. Lee, P. T. Khaw, S. Brocchini, A. Dick, D. Copland (2016) Scientific Reports-Nature. 6: 36905..
  • Fc-fusion mimetics. Khalili, H., Khaw, P. T., Brocchini, S. (2016). Biomaterials Science.
  • Storage stability of bevacizumab in polycarbonate and polypropylene syringes H.Khalili, G. Sharma. A. Froome, P.T. Khaw, S. Brocchini (2015). Nature-eye. 820-827.
  • PEGylation and its impact on the design of new protein-based medicines. Ginn, C., Khalili, H., lever, R., Brocchini, S.. (2014). Future Med Chem. 1829-1846.
  • Fab-PEG-Fab as a potential antibody mimetic. Khalili, H., Godwin, A., Choi, J., Lever, R., Khaw, P. T., Brocchini, S. (2013). Bioconjugate Chemistry. 1870-1882.
  • Antibody fragments: Prolonging circulation half-life special issue-antibody research. Herrington-Symes, A., Farys, M., Khalili, H., Brocchini, S. (2013). Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology. 689-698.
  • Comparative binding of disulfide-bridged PEG-Fabs. Khalili, H., Godwin, A., Choi, J., Lever, R., Brocchini, S. (2012). Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2262-2277.
  • A simple and rapid spectrophotometric method for the determination of ultra trace amounts of thallium (III) with 4-(4'-N,N-dimethylaminophenyl) urazole as a new reagent. Khalili, H., Rafiee, Z., Rezaei, B., Mallakpour, Sh. (2005). Ann Chim. 897-903.
  • Invited book: Chemical and genetic modification. Farys, M. Ginn, C., Badescu, G., Peciak, K, Pawlisz, E., Khalili, H., Brocchini, S. (2013). Wiley.


  • Fully funded PhD studentship, H. Khalili,£86,000 (2019); " Bispecific antibody mimetic for ocular inflammation"
  • Research funds, UEL, H. Khalili, £4,000 (2019); "High concentrated antibody mimetic for subcutaneous injection"
  • Early Research Career (ERC), H. Khalili, £8,000 (2016); "To Evaluate FpF stability and properties compared to IgGs"
  • CIF equipment funding,UCL, H. Khalili, S. Brocchini, £75,000, (2014). To purchase equipment
  • Research Innovation Fund, H. Khalili, UCL colleagues £10,000 (2013); " in-vivo study of antibody mimetics to treat ocular inflammation"


MSc Pharmaceutical Science (with specialism)

Get a detailed understanding of pharmaceutical science and develop the skills needed for individual and collaborative research in drug development.

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BSC (Hons) Chemistry

This course prepares you with the fundamental studies of structures, properties and reactions relating to chemistry. You will be given extensive laboratory training, increasing your employability.

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  • Module leader for MSc in Pharmaceutical Science
  • Advanced Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control Module leader for BSc in Chemistry
  • Analytical Analysis