The research at the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology (Ghent University) focuses on the development of innovative drug dosage forms (mainly solid dosage forms) for human application as well as for veterinary use. These dosage forms are based on pharmaceutical accepted excipients used as such or as mixtures to impart specific drug release properties (immediate, controlled or sustained release) to the formulation. The lab has a strong research focus on continuous manufacturing techniques.
The projects at the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology are focused on the following topics:
- Granulation: Current research mainly focusses on process and formulation development for twin screw wet and melt granulation as well as their downstream processes. Therefore, evaluating the interplay between raw material properties and process settings is of high interest. This approach is used to (i) derive preferred excipients platforms for novel APIs, (ii), evaluate the impact of batch-to-batch variability and (iii) evaluate the applicability of botch conventional and non-conventional excipients for continuous processing.
- Tabletting: Ongoing work investigates the influence of raw material and blend properties on the die-filling and tabletability during continuous manufacturing. Residence time distributions in the feedframe and influence of different process parameters are being studied. In addition, the influence of feeding and blending during continuous direct compression on the tablet content uniformity is evaluated.
- Compaction simulation: Currently, our team is working on the evaluation of the external lubrication system on the compaction simulator (Styl’One Evolution). In addition, the correlation between the tableting process and tablet quality of tablets produced on the Styl’One Evolution tableting instrument and Modul™ P rotary tablet press is studied.
- Hot-melt extrusion and 3D-printing: Hot melt extrusion is used for designing sustained release dosage forms using conventional and non-conventional polymeric materials for controlled drug release. On the other hand, the extrusion process is used to enhance the bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs by preparing molecular dispersions for immediate release dosage forms. The development of personalized 3D dosage forms with versatile release profiles is also one of our research interests. Recently, FDM 3D printing was used as an alternative HME downstream processing technique to produce personalised medicines for the manufacturing of high drug loaded dosage forms, hence offering a lot of formulation freedom for the on-demand production of personalized dosage forms at the point-of-care.
- Spray-drying: Research on the spray dryers is focussed on formulation of particles for dry powder inhalation, co-processing to obtain particles with the desired properties (e.g. improved compressibility, flowability) and creation of micro-particles for oral antigen delivery.
- Freeze-drying: Our lab developed a continuous freeze-drying process in collaboration with the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Process Analytical Technology. This continuous freeze-drying concept is based on spinning the vials during freezing (I.e. spin-freezing) and on non-contact energy transfer via infrared radiation during drying. This improves process efficiency and product uniformity compared to conventional batch drying. Our research focus is development of a formulation strategy and optimisation of the models used in the different steps of continuous freeze-drying.