The spray-drying technique is a response to industry pressure for better productivity through cost and time efficiencies, Dow told this site, but admitted persuading pharma to take on untried technology will be a challenge.
On the first day of CPhI Worlwide’s conference in Madrid, Spain, the chemicals company announced the launch of a membrane coating method for multi-unit particulate systems(MUPS) – typically found in drugs with highly potent APIs whose release needs to be tightly controlled.
Drugmakers currently must choose between two methods of coating these particulates. Solvent-based systems apply a polymer using a solvent which then evaporates. But because of the hazards to humans from exposure, working with solvents requires extra staff training, specialist facilities, and can make obtaining facility permits difficult.
Another option is a water-based system using a latex dispersion which customers say is easier to apply but has a lower quality of release and coating, Dow’s Christophe Massip told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.
Dow’s just-launched “Ethocel” offering uses what it calls a high-productivity ethylcellulose polymer to dry coat barrier membranes. It claims the method has “98-99% coating efficiency” compared to solvent and water-based ethylcellulose systems because it has no drying time. Massip added the method is more environmentally friendly than solvent techniques, and eliminates solvent disposal costs.
Massip said Ethocel could bring productivity improvements for clients of 40-50%, and that retrofitting sites will be relatively inexpensive compared to capital investments in solvent methods.
But, he said, switching industry to high-productivity polymers is “a step change, not a small incremental improvement.” Clients’ wariness of new technology will be the biggest hurdle to overcome, rather than capital costs, he said. “Industry is slow to move because it’s risk-averse. So are the regulators.”