Sep 2022

Evaluating Integrity of Vials Using Low Temperature Test Systems

Evaluating Integrity of Vials Using Low-Temperature Test Systems

With the rapid growth of the cell and gene therapy sector, there is a higher demand than ever to prove Container Closure Integrity (CCI) at low temperatures. Most cell and gene therapy drugs are maintained at temperatures below -60°C to preserve the effectiveness of the product. Many of these items are packed in vials or cryogenic freezing bags. Vials made of glass or plastic are the most commonly used containers for packing. They are used to preserve pharmaceuticals or laboratory samples. Each of these container closure systems presents a unique challenge for determining CCI at low temperatures. In this blog, we will discuss how the integrity of vials can be tested using low-temperature package test systems.

Low-Temperature Test Systems for Vial Integrity Testing

The most common challenge in storing vial systems at ultra-low temperatures is the occurrence of transient leaks. While a vial system may achieve leak rates at or below the maximum permissible leakage limit (MALL) at room temperature, the same may not necessarily be true at -80°C or lower. However, many of the materials used in these package systems and those responsible for maintaining the integrity of the package are not normally evaluated at these temperatures. Physical changes can occur, especially in elastomeric elements, when in contact with deep-cold or ultra-cold temperatures, causing the material to reach its glass transition state or higher. This results in leakage at low temperatures, which is not observed at room temperature. This type of leakage is most commonly found in primary sealing areas between elastomeric closures and glass vial, such as below -60°C. Having a reliable method to test container closure integrity while at these low temperatures enables manufacturers to minimize leakage.

LDA has developed the LT80, low temperature -80°C add-on test system for use with LDA SIMS helium leak detector to meet market demand for cold temperature leak analysis. Concurrent temperature conditioning, temperature monitoring and helium leak testing of packages approaching -80°C are all possible on the LT80 system. Helium leak detection is an effective way to ensure container closure integrity, even at temperatures below -80°C. Although there are alternative methods for measuring CCI, many of them are ineffective at temperatures below -80°C. LT150 low-temperature add-on unit allows sample testing at temperatures as low as -150°C.

Applications of Helium Leak Detection

  • Ensuring container closure integrity.
  • Seal integrity monitoring during stability studies.
  • Verify and predict shelf-life seal integrity.
  • Useful in the early stages of developing a drug product packaging system.
  • Selecting closure formulation and configuration.

Helium leak detection is a rapid, efficient, and deterministic method of determining the inherent CCI of a vial system at any temperature. Due to the sensitivity of helium leak detection, it is excellent for testing CCI for products that must retain both headspace gas and sterility. During the package development phase of the product life cycle, helium leak detection is most commonly utilized in evaluating component performance at ultra-low temperatures.

helium leak testing, helium leak detector, helium leak detection, helium mass spectrometry, helium CCIT
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