TechConnect Innovator Spotlight:

TechConnect World Innovation Conference
May 14 - 17, 2017, Washington DC

Continuous Polymer Coating of Drug Crystals, Particles and Nanoparticles, New Jersey Institute of Technology


A thin polymer coating protects individual drug crystals from adverse environments and allows for controlled drug release. Current methods of producing such coatings are very demanding batch processes. Employing hollow-fiber membranes NJIT developed two easily-scalable techniques for continuous polymer coating of drug crystals/nanoparticles using cooling crystallization or anti-solvent crystallization.

Primary Application Area: Biotech, Pharma

Technology Development Status: Proven Manufacturability



For controlled drug release processes, a facile way to continuously coat nano-sized drug crystals with a biodegradable polymer required to produce large amounts of individually coated particles. The same need exists for surface coating of nanoparticles in optical, electronic and chemical applications. Conventional polymer coating methods have many disadvantages: high energy consumption, low productivity, batch processing. A novel method for continuous polymer coating of drug crystals based on solid hollow-fiber cooling crystallization (SHFCC) has been developed. The solid hollow fiber-based device acts as a highly efficient heat exchanger. It is simple, straightforward and easily scalable as demonstrated by two scales of operation. Initial laboratory experiments were carried out for 5-10 minutes using the polymer Eugragit or poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA); we have now demonstrated uniform coating thickness of Eudragit on submicron silica particles even when the experiment was continued for 60-120 minutes. Coating of the drug Griseofulvin with Eudragit has been illustrated. Using a second method based on porous hollow fiber membrane-based anti-solvent crystallization (PHFAC), continuous production of polymer-coated nanoparticles and submicron particles/drug crystals has also been demonstrated. In addition we have continuously synthesized polymer-coated drug crystals from a solution of the polymer Eudragit and the drug Griseofulvin by PHFAC.



Value Proposition: Both techniques, SHFCC and PHFAC, are simple and straightforward, and easily scaled up. Just vary the number of polymeric hollow fibers in the device: make the shell of the device larger or smaller for higher or lower production rates. Maintain the same residence time and/or the flow rate ratios as the case may be. Such types of devices are being used in very large scale in industries employed in separation, purification and water treatment and could be easily adopted for continuous production of polymer-coated crystals, submicron particles and nanoparticles.

These devices are cheap, easily reused and employed for different systems.

High production rate for polymer-coated drug or particle/nanoparticle is easily achieved.

The results are highly reproducible



National Innovation Awardee

Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab