News Column

Patent Issued for Preparation of a Lipid Blend and a Phospholipid Suspension Containing the Lipid Blend

June 25, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. (North Billerica, MA) has been issued patent number 8747892, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Hui, Poh K. (Wellesley Hills, MA); Bishop, John E. (Groton, MA); Madrigal, Jr., Eleodoro S. (Westford, MA).

This patent was filed on July 25, 2013 and was published online on June 10, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Manufacturing of a phospholipid contrast agent can be divided into the following steps: (1) preparation of lipid blend; (2) compounding the bulk solution, which involves the hydration and dispersion of the lipid blend in an essentially aqueous medium to produce a lipid suspension; (3) filtration of the bulk solution through a sterilizing filter(s) to render the suspension free of microbial contaminants; (4) dispensing the sterile suspension into individual vials in a controlled aseptic area; (5) loading the dispensed vials into a lyophilizer chamber to replace the vial headspace gas with perfluoropropane gas (PFP); (6) transferring the sealed vials after gas exchange to an autoclave for terminal sterilization. There are three major obstacles in this process: (1) uniformity of the lipid blend; (2) hydration of the lipid blend; (3) uniformity and particle size of the suspension; and, (4) sterile filtration of the suspension through a sterilizing filter(s).

"Phospholipid blends are typically produced by dissolving or suspending the required lipids in an appropriate aqueous or non-aqueous solvent system, and then reducing the volume either by lyophilization or distillation. Ideally, this process produces blended solids with high content uniformity and purity. However, while working well on a small, laboratory scale, this simple approach is frequently problematic upon scale-up to production-size quantities. Difficulties include: (1) maintaining content uniformity during the solvent removal step (due to differential solubilities); (2) maintaining purity (frequently a problem when water is used due to hydrolytic side-reactions); (3) enhancing purity; (4) minimizing solvent volume; and (5) recovery of the final solids (e.g., it is not practical to scrape solids out of a large reactor).

"After manufacture of a lipid blend, final compounding typically involves introduction of the blend into an aqueous medium. Since phospholipids are hydrophobic and are not readily soluble in water, adding phospholipids or a lipid blend directly into an aqueous solution causes the lipid powder to aggregate forming clumps that are very difficult to disperse. Thus, the hydration process cannot be controlled within a reasonable process time. Direct hydration of phospholipids or a lipid blend in an aqueous medium produces a cloudy suspension with particles ranging from 0.6 .mu.m to 100 .mu.m. Due to relatively large particle size distribution, the suspension cannot be filtered at ambient temperature when the suspension solution temperature is below the gel-to-liquid crystal phase transition temperatures of lipids. The lipids would accumulate in the filters causing a restriction in the flow rate, and in most cases, the filters would be completely blocked shortly after. Further reduction in the suspension particle size cannot be achieved through a conventional batching process, even after extended mixing (e.g., 6 hours) at elevated temperatures (e.g., C. to C.) with a commonly used marine propeller.

"Although filtration at elevated temperatures, i.e., at above the phase transition temperatures of lipids, is possible, a significant amount of larger lipid particles would still be excluded when a normal filtering pressure is used. In turn, concentrations of the sterile filtrate would have variable lipid content from batch to batch depending on how the lipids are initially hydrated which is in turn determined by the physical characteristics, e.g., morphology, of the starting materials.

"The process of directly hydrating the lipids or lipid blend to produce a uniform suspension and filtration of the suspension through a sterilization filter(s) can be difficult and costly to be scaled-up to any reasonable commercial scale, e.g., >20 L.

"Thus, the presently claimed processes for manufacture of a lipid blend and the subsequent phospholipid suspension are aimed at solving the above issues by providing a practical process that can be easily scaled and adopted to various manufacturing facilities without extensive modification or customization of existing equipment."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, one object of the present invention is to provide a novel process for preparing a lipid blend.

"Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel process for preparing a phospholipid suspension from the lipid blend.

"These and other objects, which will become apparent during the following detailed description, have been achieved by the inventors' discovery that dissolving a lipid blend in a suitable non-aqueous solvent prior to introduction of an aqueous solution allows for production of a phospholipid suspension."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Hui, Poh K.; Bishop, John E.; Madrigal, Jr., Eleodoro S.. Preparation of a Lipid Blend and a Phospholipid Suspension Containing the Lipid Blend. U.S. Patent Number 8747892, filed July 25, 2013, and published online on June 10, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering

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