Research Promises to Speed Drug Manufacture

28.06.2015 -

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has donated $6 million to Rutgers University in the US to fund ongoing research into continuous manufacturing – an approach Janssen and the academic institution claim could be “the most significant development in pharmaceutical processing in decades.”
Rather than mixing raw materials into large batches and then pressing the material into tablets, continuous manufacturing would allow plants to feed the materials into an ongoing process.
Once implemented, the researchers say the new method will be less expensive, more efficient, require a smaller facility, and help boost quality control.
Although the technology has been known for several years, Rutgers said industry has been slow to adopt it on a wide scale. If implemented throughout the industry, the researchers say it would be a “major shift” comparable to an automotive assembly line.
“Continuous manufacturing represents the future of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing,” said Fernando J. Muzzio, professor in the university’s Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.
With the drug company’s funding, Muzzio said the center is “even better positioned to serve the scientific community, pharmaceutical companies and the regulatory agencies as the industry moves to this new process over the next decade.”
Research on continuous manufacturing began in 2010. Since then, Rutgers has partnered with New Jersey Institute of Technology, Purdue University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
The university has already built a full-scale continuous manufacturing facility inside an engineering building on one of its campuses. Janssen is now using that model for a production line in Puerto Rico that will transition to continuous manufacturing once it has FDA approval.