Continuous manufacturing process monitoring of pharmaceutical solid dosage form: A case study.J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2020 Feb 05; 179:112971.JP
Continuous Manufacturing (CM) of pharmaceutical drug products is a rather new approach within the pharmaceutical industry. In the presented paper, a GMP continuous wet granulation line used for clinical production of solid dosage forms was investigated with a thorough monitoring strategy regarding process performance and robustness. The line was composed of the subsequent continuous unit operations feeding - twin-screw wet-granulation - fluid-bed drying - sieving and tableting; the formulation of a new pharmaceutical entity in development was selected for this study. In detail, a Design of Experiments (DoE) was used to evaluate the impact of the three main factors (amount of water, filling rate, and shear force in twin-screw granulator) on the tablet quality. The process was monitored via in-process control (IPC) tests (e.g. weight, hardness, disintegration, and loss-on-drying), Process Analytical Technologies (PAT), and through the analysis of the process parameters (multivariate process control). The tested formulation was very robust to the large process variation of the DoE: all IPC results were in specification, the PAT probes provided stable results for the content uniformity and no critical variations can be detected in the process parameters. An adequate monitoring strategy was presented and the robustness of the process with one formulation has been demonstrated. In summary, this continuous process in combination with smart formulation development allows the robust production of constant quality tablets. The synergy between PAT, process data science and IPC creates an adequate monitoring framework of the continuous manufacturing line.