A novel approach to sterile pharmaceutical freeze-drying

Authors: Christopher Lee Albert Cherry, Huw Millward, Rose Cooper, and John Landon Published: 2013 Area of Research: Prototype & Manufacture Citation: Christopher Lee Albert Cherry, Huw Millward, Rose Cooper, and John Landon, 2013, A novel approach to sterile pharmaceutical freeze-drying, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, Early Online: 1–9, DOI: 10.3109/10837450.2012.752388


A novel approach has been developed that enables sterile pharmaceutical products to be freeze-dried in the open laboratory without specialist facilities. The product is filled into vials, semi-stoppered and sealed inside one, followed by a second, sterilization pouch under class 100 conditions. The product is then freeze-dried in the laboratory where the vials are shelf-stoppered before being returned to class 100, unwrapped and crimped. The sterilization pouches increased the resistance to water vapor movement during sublimation, thereby increasing the sublimation time and product temperature. Ovine immunoglobulins were double wrapped and lyophilized (as above) adjusting the primary drying time and shelf temperature for increased product temperature and, therefore, prevention of collapse. Ovine immunoglobulin G formulations freeze-dried to ≤ 1.1% residual moisture with no effect on protein aggregation or biological activity. The process was simulated with tryptone soya broth and no growth of contaminating microbial cells was observed after incubation at 35 °C for 2 weeks. Although increasing lyophilization time, this approach offers significant plant and validation cost savings when sterile freeze-drying small numbers of vials thereby making the manufacture of treatments for neglected and orphan diseases more viable economically.

Download this article

Contact Us