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Adeline Siew is editor for Pharmaceutical Technology Europe. She is also science editor for Pharmaceutical Technology.
Pharmaceutical companies are constantly aiming for shorter drug-development cycles and advances in formulation development produce significant benefits.
There is an increasing need for efficient formulation development techniques in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Companies typically spend up to $1.6 billion to develop a drug and bring it to market, according to the consulting firm, CRA International. Efficient systems for automated formulation development can save time and reduce cost, while producing better outcomes, notes an ACHEMA trend report on this subject. They can also reduce materials consumption. Automated systems are widely used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, such as in drug discovery and in the development of coatings.
The report highlights information from Bosch, which indicates that lab process automation can increase lab efficiency by a factor of 2.5, producing time and cost savings of up to 60%. Trials comparing manual and automated formulation development have shown different outcomes. A manual process, for example, would identify certain excipients as unsuitable for a product but in automated trials, the very same compounds could prove useful when combined with other substances.
There are suppliers who offer special development platforms designed to run simple or complex automatable development processes. Whether it is a modular system or a complete robotic platforms, these tools can be adapted to suit the different requirements in the development process, from design of experiments to sample selection and processing as well as evaluation, analysis, and data mining.
BASF has a robotic high-throughput screening system, used to measure particle size during the development of multiphase systems, such as emulsions and dispersions. The system fully supports automatic screening of formulations, including the constituents that characterize them, and enables accurate qualitative formulation assessment.
Siegfried Holding provides tailored formulation development solutions, with its portfolio ranging from API development and production through to delivering complex dosage forms and the final product. Evonik offers a variety of products for pharmaceutical applications and provides formulation development services for oral and parenteral preparations. The company claims that its labs are equipped with cutting-edge technologies and infrastructure for formulation development.
Pharmaceutical companies are constantly aiming for shorter drug-development cycles and advances in formulation development produce significant benefits. A wide of technologies and services will be showcased at ACHEMA. The “laboratory and analytical techniques” exhibition group will be located in Hall 4.