Green production of cocrystals using a new solvent-free approach by spray congealing
Pharmaceutical cocrystals are used as a strategy to overcome poor physicochemical properties of drugs. The use of cocrystals in the pharmaceutical industry remains to be fully exploited due, in part, to the scarcity of suitable large-scale production methods and lack of robust and cost-effective processes. To overcome these challenges, spray congealing was used for the first time in the preparation of cocrystals. The work considered a feasibility study, followed by a design of experiments to assess the impact of varying atomization and cooling-related process parameters on cocrystal formation, purity, particle size, shape and bulk powder flow properties. It was demonstrated that spray congealing could be used to produce cocrystals. The thermal analysis and X-ray results of the spray-congealed products were different from the pure components or physical mixtures and were aligned with those reported for the same cocrystals systems produced by other techniques. Cocrystal particles were compact and spherical consisting of aggregates of individual cocrystals entangled or adhered with each other.
From the design of experiments, the results demonstrated that varying the process parameters did not influence cocrystal formation, but had an impact on cocrystal purity. Moreover, it was demonstrated that cocrystal particle properties can be adjusted, in situ, by varying atomization and cooling efficiency, in order to produce particles more suited for incorporation in final dosage forms such as tablets.