Raman spectroscopy was evaluated as a process analytical technology (PAT) tool for continuous API quantification during twin-screw wet granulation. Therefore, a Raman probe was implemented in front of the granulator barrel. This setup enabled the collection of Raman spectra upon a constant granule flow.
To develop an in-line PLS calibration model, eight binary mixtures of the API and lactose monohydrate with API contents between 5 and 50% were pre-blended and granulated in a twin-screw granulator with a screw speed of 150 rpm and a powder feed rate of 40 g/min. Water was used as a granulation liquid with different liquid to solid ratios depending on the API content. Ibuprofen and diclofenac sodium were chosen as model drugs and separated PLS models were built for each API.
The predictive performance of the developed PLS models was determined by granulating and monitoring new test samples containing different API concentrations. This evaluation showed that the models were able to predict the API concentration with an RMSEP of 0.59% for ibuprofen and 1.5% for diclofenac sodium.
In a second part, the developed in-line Raman spectroscopic method was used to determine the API concentration during a split feeding process. Therefore, the API and lactose monohydrate were added by two independently adjustable feeders into the twin-screw granulator barrel. The in-line spectroscopy analysis which was verified by UV-analysis indicated that the mixing ability of the twin-screw granulator was good for the used settings and all adjusted API concentrations.