Mutiple parameters are key to powder analysis, says Freeman

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology, Manufacturing

Freeman Technologies, which showcased its FT4 Rheometer at Achema in Frankfurt, Germany, last week, says pharmaceutical powders are complex systems that require analysis of multiple parameters.

Managing director Reg Freeman told in-PharmaTechnologist that: “the traditional single number approach to characterisation such as angle of repose, Carrs Index or even shear data…cannot describe even a cup of coffee​.”

He said that the FT4 technology, which measures a powder’s flowability, shear properties and compressability in a single process, is part of the company’s unique approach to complex, detailed analysis.

"A typical pharma company with tablet manufacturing line No 5 that cost millions is expected to process many different formulations over time. Some formulations will process easily at high speed with high quality, others will be troublesome with stoppages and variable quality.

Freeman explained that the firm’s analysis of between 20 and 30 parameters and development of a database for each drug being produced allows it to determine “what makes ‘good’ formulations good and conversely why some formulations are problematic​.”

Flow analysis to "transform industry worldwide"

Freeman went on to say that in the drug manufacturing industry “it is increasingly recognised that ‘understanding the flow properties of powders being processed’ is good sense​.”

He added while many leading US and European drugmakers use the FT4 technology for R&D-stage process development “more recently the trend is towards manufacturing [as part of] QbD and PAT.”

The company recently launched a website designed to meet the growing demand for on-line powder flow analysis information and expertise, particularly from manufacturers in India and the US.

Our perspective on the benefits of matching powder and plant characteristics is received favourably in all markets and we think it is set to transform the industry worldwide​.”

As the drug industry strives to cut manufacturing costs the ability to make many types and formulations of drug with a single production line is an increasingly attractive proposition.

For the outsourcing sector particularly, the ability to shift smoothly between tablet production runs for different pharma industry clients is a key strategy to increase potential customer base and ultimately revenue.

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