Continuous manufacturing (CM) has clear potential for manufacturing solid oral dosages. It provides several advantages that may aid the manufacturing and quality of drug products. However, one of the main challenges of this technology is the relatively large amount of knowledge required and the amounts of material needed to develop the process during the early stages of development. Early process development evaluations of continuous manufacturing equipment often require larger amounts of material compared with batch, which hinder CM prospect for drugs during the early stages of process development. In this work, a small-scale evaluation of the mixing process occurring in a continuous mixing system was performed. The evaluation involved the use of a small-scale "mixing cell" which was able to replicate the lubrication process of a continuous mixer. It is worth mentioning that we designed the mixing cell by reconfiguration of an existing continuous tubular blender. The extent of lubrication evaluation was performed for three example formulations and was done by mimicking the amount of shear provided to a formulation by means of matching the number of paddle-passes that a formulation experiences within a continuous blending process in the batch mixing cell. The evaluation showed that the small-scale mixing cell was able to replicate the extent of lubrication-evaluated by measuring the tensile strength of compacts being made with both the continuous and mixing cell experiments-occurring in the continuous mixer using a fraction of the amount of materials needed to perform the same evaluation in the continuous blending process.
Keywords: batch mixing; continuous mixing; continuous process development; extent of lubrication; pharmaceutical ingredients; tablet tensile strength.