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Freeman powder tester plays key role as Monash University researchers seek to improve inhaled drug formulations

Pharmaceutical science researchers at Monash University in Australia, are using the FT4 universal powder tester from Freeman Technology to investigate novel techniques for improving the flow properties of excipients for inhaled product formulation. The team, led by Dr David Morton, has recently published work describing the use of optimised dry coating techniques to enhance the flow of fine lactose particles. Their results show that measuring the dynamic properties of the lactose with the FT4 quantifies flow behaviour more sensitively than using conventional techniques. Consequently the FT4 is becoming an important characterization tool for this and related research and development work.

With dry powder inhalers, the flow properties of the formulation influence both ease of manufacture and the aerosolisation process needed for drug delivery. To achieve effective delivery, lactose is often used as a carrier for the very fine active pharmaceutical ingredients in inhaled formulations. One way to improve its flow properties is by applying a very thin magnesium stearate coating using mechanofusion. Using the FT4 to compare the influence on the powder behaviour of this technique with a conventional blending approach, the Monash team showed mechanofusion to be much the more effective.

Specific energy, a dynamic property routinely reported by the FT4, proved especially sensitive to changes induced by the inclusion of magnesium stearate, successfully detecting the smaller improvements caused by simply mixing the additive with the lactose. The aim is now to use the FT4 to define parameters that enable the prediction of both in-process flow behaviour and aerosolisation.

The FT4 from Freeman Technology is a universal powder tester that delivers dynamic, shear and bulk measurements that together combine to give the fullest insight into powder behaviour. Well-defined analytical protocols, automation and sample conditioning, prior to measurement, give the instrument exemplary reproducibility. Unsurpassed sensitivity and the process relevance of the parameters generated make the FT4 an excellent tool for process development, troubleshooting, QC and development.