Dow’s foam granulation used in second B-MS candidate

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology

News that US drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb (B-MS) is using its Foam Granulation Technology (FGT) to develop a second drug has worked formulation specialist Dow Wolff Cellulosics (DWC) into quite a lather.

Michael Altmann, DWC’s global communications manager, told in-PharmaTechnologist that B-MS uses the foam technology under a non-exclusive licensing agreement but could not identify the drug candidate being worked on for reasons of confidentiality.

Unlike traditional liquid binders, Dow uses an excipient foam to improve particle coverage. The key advantage is the greater surface area of the foam compared with a liquid, which means it can be spread more rapidly and evenly over powder beds.

The foams are made by passing air into a water-soluble excipient like methocel, ethocel, polyox or walocel until a shaving cream like consistency is achieved.

Application of the binding agent in this way eliminates the need for spray nozzles that can be subject to significant variability, ranging from changes in droplet size and distribution to tiny differences in distance from the moving production line bed.

The foam also has a low soak to spread ratio, meaning that active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) particle surfaces are rapidly and completely covered.

This contrasts with the surface “dappling” provided by the spraying approach which is dependant on the accumulation of the binding to achieve complete particle coverage, which is very water intensive process.

In a press statement, Hirotsugu Furukawa global marketing manager for pharmaceuticals at DWC said that the FGT technique offers drugmakers significant cost advantages in terms of both the time taken to produce a tablet batch and the amount of excipients used.

He explained that “Without modifying existing equipment and using a low-cost foam generator, the manufacturing process uses less water than traditional wet granulation processing while rapidly coating particle surfaces and shortening processing time​.”

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