UK Collaboration Uses a Direct Compression Digital Twin to Speed OSD Formulation

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CPI, the University of Strathclyde, GSK, and AstraZeneca Collaborate on a continuous direct compression digital twin for pharmaceutical formulation optimization.

The United Kingdom’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and the University of Strathclyde, in partnership with GSK and AstraZeneca, announced in an Oct. 9, 2019 press release that work has begun on a project to develop a continuous direct compression (CDC) platform at CPI’s new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC). The project aims to use CDC to produce oral solid dosage medicines more robustly and efficiently.

CDC is a continuous manufacturing process that allows greater process control than traditional batch-type methods and enables rapid production of formulations at a range of scales. According to the press release, the aim of Grand Challenge 1 is to further build on this process efficiency by developing a digital twin of the CDC platform and a workflow to understand and optimize the formulation process in digital space. Digital formulation will reduce the amount of starting materials needed for optimization and reduce the overall cost of the technology for the end-user. The project will first create a flexible, plug-and-play development platform by adapting and improving existing CDC models and incorporating process analytical technology. 

“The key innovation of a digital twin for the direct compression platform will radically cut down the amount of material needed to optimize formulations,” said Professor Alastair Florence, University of Strathclyde, in the press release. “It will allow companies to model their processes in digital space, providing a much deeper understanding of how APIs and excipients will perform, leading to a reduction in development times.”


The project is receiving funding from UK Research and Innovation, Scottish Enterprise, and the consortium’s industry partners, and is split into two phases. The development phase of the project is already underway at the University of Strathclyde’s CMAC research hub. The aim is to have a development platform operational by Q3 2020. Following this initial phase, project work will be transferred to the MMIC in Glasgow upon the center’s completion in 2021. The MMIC facility will have a GMP-capable environment to prove new technologies at scale.

Source: CPI