The drug industry routinely makes use of hot melt extrusion for a range of applications, including the production of thermal binders/ sustained release tablets, medical grade film products/ transdermal drug delivery systems, catheter tubing, granule preparation/ immediate release dosage forms, and hot melt mixed solid dosage forms.
The PRISM Pharmalab twin-screw extruder has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the drug industry, according to Thermo, and can be used with a range of ancillary equipment for product mixing and post-extrusion processing.
The range includes two products at present. The Pharmalab 16 can process up to 5kg/hour of material, while its larger Pharmlab 24 sibling can handle 25kg/hour.
Thermo claims that the PRISM Pharmalab extruder features a 'clam-shell' barrel design and quick release clamps that give easy access to the screws for easy cleaning and configuration changes. This means the device is crevice-free, while its stainless steel construction means it can be used in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-grade settings.
Other features highlighted by Thermo include programmable logic control (PLC) with data logging and recipe storage to make it easier to get reliable and reproducible results. Products can be related back to processing conditions.
Among the accessories for the devices is a GMP standard, strand pelletiser, and Thermo also offers special models that can accurately control pellet length to +/- 1 per cent and cover requirements from pre-blending to product forming.
Customer trials can be conducted at Thermo's facilities in Stone in the UK, Karlsruhe in Germany, or New Hampshire in the US.