Transforming nanomedicine manufacturing toward Quality by Design and microfluidics

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Abstract

Nanopharmaceuticals aim at translating the unique features of nano-scale materials into therapeutic products and consequently their development relies critically on the progression in manufacturing technology to allow scalable processes complying with process economy and quality assurance. The relatively high failure rate in translational nanopharmaceutical research and development, with respect to new products on the market, is at least partly due to immature bottom-up manufacturing development and resulting sub-optimal control of quality attributes in nanopharmaceuticals. Recently, quality-oriented manufacturing of pharmaceuticals has undergone an unprecedented change toward process and product development interaction. In this context, Quality by Design (QbD) aims to integrate product and process development resulting in an increased number of product applications to regulatory agencies and stronger proprietary defense strategies of process-based products. Although QbD can be applied to essentially any production approach, microfluidic production offers particular opportunities for QbD-based manufacturing of nanopharmaceuticals. Microfluidics provides unique design flexibility, process control and parameter predictability, and also offers ample opportunities for modular production setups, allowing process feedback for continuously operating production and process control. The present review aims at outlining emerging opportunities in the synergistic implementation of QbD strategies and microfluidic production in contemporary development and manufacturing of nanopharmaceuticals. In doing so, aspects of design and development, but also technology management, are reviewed, as is the strategic role of these tools for aligning nanopharmaceutical innovation, development, and advanced industrialization in the broader pharmaceutical field.

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