Freeze drying centre of excellence unveiled

August 7, 2009
Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

Reig Jofre has revealed further details about its Barcelona (Spain) based Centre of Excellence in the Freeze Drying Process — a project that represents an investment of approximately 12 million euro.

Reig Jofre has revealed further details about its Barcelona (Spain) based Centre of Excellence in the Freeze Drying Process — a project that represents an investment of approximately 12 million euro. The centre first opened in September 2008, but few details about the facility have been made available on the company's website.

In an exclusive interview with Pharmaceutical Technology Europe (PTE), however, Enric Jo, Plant Manager at the Reig Jofre Group, provided more insight into the facility. "We have two different processes," he said. "The first centres around development and takes place at the pilot plant level to resolve problems related to the activity and stability of the products. The second process focuses on industrial production."

Explaining further to PTE, Jo added that all the usual technologies are used for developmental freeze drying projects, as well as additional equipment such as differential scanning calorimetry and freeze drying microscopy. For later stage, industrial projects, the goal is to optimize the freeze drying process in aseptic production to decrease costs, without sacrificing product quality.

"Our goal is to obtain successful projects related to the products we want to offer in our portfolio," said Jo, adding that they have also committed to different companies around the world to develop and produce new products.

"Currently we are beginning to work in the biotechnology field with the idea that it will be the new direction of pharmacological activity," said Jo. "On the other hand, we are also working with PAT concepts to achieve more reliable processes to ensure the quality of products."

The idea of the centre was first conceived in 2004 after the company had inaugurated a new facility to produce 3000000 units of freeze dried vials. The same year, the company purchased an instrument to determine the eutectic points in crystalline products, which worked using conductivity and electrical resistance. "While we were working on the current industrial zone, we started to work on the pilot plant and we had the possibility to use other modern technologies to analyse the thermal behaviour of products," said Jo.

As well as boosting freeze drying processes, the centre may also offer a welcome boost to the Spanish pharmaceutical market. "The Spanish market needs this type of activity if we don't want to depend on other markets," Jo explained. "This idea is challenging for us, but we think we will be able to lead this market in the near future."

www.reigjofre.com