Lyophilization is a mature technology that is finding new uses in biotech. Oregon Freeze Dry is using this low temperature, low-pressure preservation method with biopharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, medical devices, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and finish delivery formats to provide novel delivery solutions. It is beneficial when heat, oxygen, and/or shear prevent efficient production or efficacious final products.
“We are finding limitless opportunities to preserve the form and functionality of materials for topical, implantation, or oral delivery of specific moieties,” according to Walt Pebley, vp.
Currently, Oregon Freeze Dry is working with PATH, an international nonprofit health organization based in Seattle, to evaluate lyophilization as a delivery vehicle for oral vaccine quick dissolve, thus eliminating the cold chain and therefore extending the benefits of certain vaccines to developing countries. This technology also makes it possible to give full dosage of vaccines to babies without using needles. “The efforts require the fusion of vaccine culturing with cryopreservation, freezing, lyophilization, and unique packaging,” he says.
Oregon Freeze Dry is also assessing lyophilization as a way of stabilizing scaffolds for wound care. “We are creating emulsions of hydrogels, collagens, and specialty chemicals for dispensing into unique freezing apparatus that control ice nucleation, to form a crystal structure for the resulting lyophilized scaffold,” Pebley explains. “The next step is to incorporate compatible active ingredients homogeneously into the scaffold matrix, either before or after lyophilization, depending upon the stability requirements.” That approach provides “an elegant method for preserving form and function.”
In the specialty chemical area, Oregon Freeze Dry is using lyophilization to “preserve or maximize the internal surface area of materials to increase the productivity of catalysts, activated carbon and nano materials,” Pebley adds. “It appears that the principals of lyophilization can be applied across a much broader spectrum of applications than we previously thought.”