Development and Application of a Mechanistic Cooling and Freezing Model of the Spin Freezing Step within the Framework of Continuous Freeze-Drying

Gust Nuytten, Susan Ríos Revatta, Pieter-Jan Van Bockstal, Ashish Kumar, Joris Lammens, Laurens Leys, Brecht Vanbillemont, Jos Corver, Chris Vervaet and Thomas De Beer

During the spin freezing step of a recently developed continuous spin freeze-drying technology, glass vials are rapidly spun along their longitudinal axis. The aqueous drug formulation subsequently spreads over the inner vial wall, while a cold gas flow is used for cooling and freezing the product. In this work, a mechanistic model was developed describing the energy transfer during each phase of spin freezing in order to predict the vial and product temperature change over time. The uncertainty in the model input parameters was included via uncertainty analysis, while global sensitivity analysis was used to assign the uncertainty in the model output to the different sources of uncertainty in the model input. The model was verified, and the prediction interval corresponded to the vial temperature profiles obtained from experimental data, within the limits of the uncertainty interval. The uncertainty in the model prediction was mainly explained (>96% of uncertainty) by the uncertainty in the heat transfer coefficient, the gas temperature measurement, and the equilibrium temperature. The developed model was also applied in order to set and control a desired vial temperature profile during spin freezing. Applying this model in-line to a continuous freeze-drying process may alleviate some of the disadvantages related to batch freeze-drying, where control over the freezing step is generally poor. 

Keywords: continuous freeze-drying; spin freezing; mechanistic model; uncertainty analysis; global sensitivity analysis

Pharmaceutics 2021 Dec

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