Continuous twin screw granulation: A complex interplay between formulation properties, process settings and screw design.Int J Pharm. 2020 Feb 25; 576:119004.IJ
Due to the numerous advantages over batch manufacturing, continuous manufacturing techniques such as twin screw wet granulation are rapidly gaining importance in pharmaceutical production. Since a large knowledge gap on the importance of formulation variables exists, this study systematically assessed the impact of different screw configurations and process settings on eight model formulations, varying in filler type, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) characteristics and drug load. Although liquid to solid (L/S) ratio was the most influential variable for all formulations, also a large effect of the kneading element thickness was observed. Narrow kneading elements with a length to diameter ratio (L/D) of 1/6 had a significant detrimental effect on granule size, flow and strength compared to 1/4 L/D elements. The effects of kneading element distribution and barrel fill level were less pronounced. At low drug load, both filler types could be used to obtain granules with acceptable critical quality attributes (CQAs) for both APIs. Granulation at high drug load of the poorly soluble, poorly wettable API mebendazole proved challenging as it could not be processed using lactose as filler, in contrast to lactose/MCC. As formulations containing lactose/MCC as filler were less influenced by different screw configurations, process settings and API characteristics than formulations without MCC, lactose/MCC/HPMC was considered a promising platform formulation.