Development of design tools for optimizing the shell formulation of soft gel capsules

Renseignements sur le financement
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Type de subvention: Programme de subventions d'engagement partenariat
  • Année: 2016/17
  • Financement total: $25,000
Mots clés
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Sommaire du projet

Polymers derived from natural sources offer significant advantages in medical and personal care applications given that they can be metabolized into safe by-products. However, the extraction processes used to isolate such polymers from various natural sources result in significant variation in polymer properties, both between suppliers or even batch-to-batch from the same supplier. This variability creates challenges with manufacturing reproducible products, particularly problematic for biomedical materials given regulatory pressures. The industrial partner of this project, Accucaps, has developed a process to create soft gel capsules for encapsulating active agents that is being applied across multiple fields, including pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and others. The soft gel compositions are based on gelatin, a natural polymerderived from extracted collagen. Existing mechanical tests intended to screen different gelatin batches cannot adequately detect differences between those batches and thus predict the manufacturability and capsule quality of different gelatin samples in the soft gel coating process. In response, the proposed Engage project is focused on developing methodologies to both experimentally and theoretically identify and/or predict differences between gelatin grades as well as establish design rules for mixing different natural polymers together to achieve a manufacturable and functional gel capsule. Specifically, we will extensively characterize both the constituent gelatin polymers as well as the films formed by those polymers, apply multivariate statistical analysis to correlate the key polymer properties with the properties of the resulting films (in addition toidentifying the key 1-2 parameters that most predictive of favourable gel properties), and identify blends of different gelatin grades or mixtures of gelatin with other approved polymers that achieve desired capsule properties. This insight will give Accucaps the ability to more quickly produce high-quality capsules for new applications, a significant competitive advantage with potential to grow their business and thus employment, as well as offer an outstanding training opportunity for HQP across areas of emerging economic importance.