In the medical device industry, silicone oil is a ubiquitous lubricant used in the manufacture, assembly of medical components, and also as the terminal lubricant for proper device operation. In prefilled syringes, problems arise when micro-droplets of silicone oil migrate into the drug medium and act as a contaminant which can potentially react with the packaged drug. In the case of biological drugs, silicone oil contamination has been implicated in protein conformational changes and aggregation where even a small fraction of aggregated proteins can reduce biological activity and/or result in undesirable immunogenicity. Glass syringes for prefilled applications predominantly use silicone oil as a lubricant. A silicone-free glass prefilld device is highly desired, but acceptance of a new lubricant requires stability testing with various pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as particulate and force testing after extended storage. TriboFilm Research, Inc. proposes the development of their TriboGlide(R) silicone-free lubrication system for use in glass prefilled syringes. The TriboGlide(R) technology is based on perfluoropolyether chemistry and gas plasma immobilization to create a lubricating coating that is resistant to migration and leads to less lubricant extraction into the drug product. In Phase I TriboFilm Research demonstrated a proof-of-concept for a silicone-free glass prefilled syringe. In collaboration with the University of Colorado at Denver, the superior performance of TriboGlide(R) versus Silicone Oil was demonstrated with respect to protein aggregation and syringe extrusion forces. In Phase II, a scalable manufacturing process for producing TriboGlide(R) coated glass syringes will be developed. Initially, the TriboGlide(R) lubrication process will be optimized using a design of experiments to produce coatings with low syringe extrusion forces and low particle counts. Particles will be measured using light obscuration (HIAC) as well as microflow imaging to determine the number of particles present and distinguish between lubricant particles and aggregated proteins. With an optimized coating process, protein stability will be evaluated using various therapeutic proteins. The TriboGlide(R) lubrication system will be compared to Silicone Oil to establish superiority of the lubrication process. Protein stability will be examined using fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and microflow imaging. Finally, a pilot scale lubrication machine will be built to demonstrate the scale-up and manufacturability of this process. The medical device and pharmaceutical industries have long desired a completely silicone-free syringe system that does not affect the stability of the packaged drug in solution. If successful, TriboGlide(R) will be the first universal silicone-free system for glass prefilled syringes with applications extending to other fields.

Public Health Relevance

Patient controlled self-therapy is an enticing factor for packaging drugs in single-dose prefilled syringe formats which treat chronic ailments, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. Other advantages of prefilled syringes include reduction in medical errors, ease of use, accurate dosage, elimination of preservatives, and reduction in the amount of drug overfill required when pharmaceutical products are packaged in vials or ampoules. Silicone oil, which serves as a lubricant for easy operation of the syringe, can contaminate the drug product and adversely interact with sensitive pharmaceutical products. The proposed TriboGlide(R) system will be the first silicone-free system for glass prefilled syringes that overcomes the problems of lubricant migration and drug contamination.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMST-M (13))
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Mitchell, Phyllis
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Tribofilm Research, Inc.
United States
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