Although the pharmaceutical industry excels in the discovery of new therapeutics, it is behind many other industries in its manufacturing methods. Batch manufacturing is an outdated methodology that suffers from a series of “stop-and-start” steps in its production chain. This includes the isolation and transportation of chemical intermediates (including the active pharmaceutical ingredient, API) across the different unit operations and facilities, where issues with quality can occur (see figure below). Consequently, lead times are very long, sometimes over a year from raw materials to finished products, and the required plant footprint is very large. It is estimated that the pharmaceutical industry wastes over $50 billion a year in inefficient processes.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing via Batch Processes
To change this outdated paradigm, CONTINUUS Pharmaceuticals is leveraging a novel continuous manufacturing platform called ICM (Integrated Continuous Manufacturing, see figure below), initially developed at the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, a $85 M joint research endeavor. ICM offers significant advantages over batch processes:
Schematic of Integrated Continuous Manufacturing (ICM) of Pharmaceuticals