Current and Future Demands/ Solutions in Fully Controllable Small Scale R&D Freeze Drying

by biopharmacharis in BPS News, BPS Right Sidebar Content, Uncategorized

The demands on small scale freeze dryers are increasing:





Increasingly, industry has become driven by more stringent regulations, where companies are asked to understand specific material properties of intrinsic value during the design and implementation phase of an efficient lyophilisation recipe.

Whilst this particular trend has been firmly established at both pilot and production level, over recent years, its relevance to smaller scale R&D has become ever more apparent as well as a means to ensure that the efficient drying of target product is firmly understood, with minimal impact on sample efficacy, prior to scaling up the process.

In light of this, it is not surprising that operators within R&D environments now demand freeze dryers that are small in footprint to fit easily in to laboratory areas where bench space may be at a premium, but with the capability to replicate the precise shelf temperature/vacuum control of larger drying machines.

Biopharma’s benchtop VirTis AdVantage series freeze dryer range was developed to satisfy these market specific needs, offering the power and accuracy of control required, whilst maintaining a compact overall machine footprint.



Some salient features integrated in to the AdVantage range are described, below:

  • Available in varying refrigeration types, from the ‘ES’ -53°C, down to the ‘EL’ -83°C lowest condenser temperature –recommended if processing non-aqueous solvents with lower melting points–
  • Shelf temperatures can range between -62°C and +60°C –subject to refrigeration model opted–
  • Available in up to 1, 2, or 3 x stainless steel 316 processing shelves –254mm by 356mm–
  • Pneumatic stoppering option: allows vials to be stoppered under vacuum
  • Inert gas backfill: allows users to flood the drying chamber with an inert gas i.e. Nitrogen/Argon, prior to stoppering – a preferred method when working with hygroscopic material
  • Largest condenser capacity of 6 litres, 4 litres/24 hours deposition rate
  • Availability to use up to 4 x product probes: accurate measurement of sample temperature can be carried out and monitored throughout the entire batch run
  • Precision shelf temperature control +/- 1’C
  • On board control system with multiple recipes each with multi-step controlled freezing and drying steps –ability to carry out product annealing is possible–, and all in an accurately reproducible manner
  • Ability to link the system to a PC/laptop using specific software allowing the user to store data for later manipulation and report writing, if required
  • Clean room configuration: machine can be manufactured with a clean room flange in place to allow for ‘through-the-wall’ installations within controlled laboratory areas, if required
  • Able to accept either a two stage, rotary vane, oil-sealed vacuum pump, or a dry pump, depending on the application

Due the aforementioned equipment versatility and benefits for use at development level prior to scale up, the AdVantage system has proved to be our most popular model, of our near 500 VirTis installations across the UK and Ireland.

An outline of freeze drying processes typically demanding the AdVantage power and control are listed, to provoke thought:

  • PCR based diagnostic test kits
  • Collagen Scaffolds – the ability to fully control freezing/annealing is of pivotal importance, making the AdVantage a standard machine for this type of application where porosity/ice crystal structure is key Biological material
  • Fermentation work: drying bacterial strains in an efficient manner
  • Drug Discovery
  • Protein/peptide based formulation

The Biopharma Group prides itself on not being a ‘catalogue’ company, but one which solves problems by drawing on our wealth of freeze drying expertise and knowledge.

Many customers will take advantage (no pun intended) of our support to either develop cycles through our analytical laboratory, using Biopharma’s Lyostat/Lyotherm, to assist with the work carried out on their AdVantage freeze dryer, or via our Service Department in order to maintain the machines throughout their lifespan.

Therefore, whatever your application may be, both The Biopharma Group and the AdVantage series freeze dryer will be your reliable partner and solution.

AdVantage Freeze Dryer: Limited Period Package Offer Available

Finally, you can take ‘advantage’ right now; we have a number of special discount packages available on the AdVantage for a limited period at present, so please get in contact Richard Lewis to learn more.



For further details on our freeze drying and process equipment product ranges, please contact Richard Lewis, Sales Manageror on +44 (0)1962 841092