336. Microfluidic Particle Engineering of Hydrophobic Drug with Eudragit E100─Bridging the Amorphous and Crystalline Gap
Co-processing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) with excipients is a promising particle engineering technique to improve the API physical properties, which can lead to more robust downstream drug product manufacturing and improved drug product attributes. Excipients provide control over critical API attributes like particle size and solid-state outcomes. Eudragit E100 is a widely used polymeric excipient to modulate drug release. Being cationic, it is primarily employed as a precipitation inhibitor to stabilize amorphous solid dispersions. In this work, we demonstrate how co-processing of E100 with naproxen (NPX) (a model hydrophobic API) into monodisperse emulsions via droplet microfluidics followed by solidification via solvent evaporation allows the facile fabrication of compact, monodisperse, and spherical particles with an expanded range of solid-state outcomes spanning from amorphous to crystalline forms. Low E100 concentrations (≤26% w/w) yield crystalline microparticles with a stable NPX polymorph distributed uniformly across the matrix at a high drug loading (∼89% w/w). Structurally, E100 incorporation reduces the size of primary particles comprising the co-processed microparticles in comparison to neat API microparticles made using the same technique and the as-received API powder. This reduction in primary particle size translates into an increased internal porosity of the co-processed microparticles, with specific surface area and pore volume ∼9 times higher than the neat API microparticles. These E100-enabled structural modifications result in faster drug release in acidic media compared to neat API microparticles. Additionally, E100-NPX microparticles have a significantly improved flowability compared to neat API microparticles and as-received API powder. Overall, this study demonstrates a facile microfluidics-based co-processing method that broadly expands the range of solid-state outcomes obtainable with E100 as an excipient, with multiscale control over the key attributes and performance of hydrophobic API-laden microparticles.