Continuous Manufacturing: Novartis' experiment in the future of drug production

August 11, 2017

Interested  in  the  pharmaceutical  industry?  This  article  from  Pharmafile speaks  about  innovative  production  and  manufacturing  solutions  of Novartis  who  decide  to  take  the  step  to  experiment  in  continuous manufacturing processes with it’s drug production. Have a look!


Continuous manufacturing has long been touted as the future of drug production. Pharmafile approached Novartis for more details about its successes in the area, and the challenges, of developing the new process.


Why did Novartis decide to take the step to experiment in continuous manufacturing processes?


In a rapidly evolving industry climate, Novartis is leading the drive for more innovative production and manufacturing solutions. Current drug manufacturing – the “batch method” – can be a laborious, segmented process, requiring significant time, resources and financial investments. Before reaching a patient, products often pass through multiple phases of manufacturing at various facilities across hundreds of miles before being ready for distribution. Novartis – recognising the need to deliver treatments to patients faster and more efficiently, and the limitations of the current manufacturing process to meet those needs – is working to transform the pharmaceutical development and manufacturing process through continuous manufacturing.


What are the advantages to continuous manufacturing?


The innovative continuous manufacturing process integrates all steps of production from start to finish into a single process in one location, allowing for strong quality control, lower costs and better production speed. Additionally, when compared to the batch method, continuous manufacturing:

  • Runs 24 hours, seven days a week with very brief throughput times. By comparison, the current method is continuously interrupted and requires roughly a year just to produce one batch of pharmaceutical products. Continuous manufacturing shortens the development and manufacturing time, which means medicines get to patients sooner and production costs are reduced

  • Strengthens product quality and reliability through the sequential but continuous processing of small amounts of material rather than simultaneous processing of a few large amounts, which allows for much more stringent process control throughout each step

  • Uses smaller equipment, infrastructure, and buildings, removing costly and inefficient heavy machinery from the production cycle. The entire operation can be completed in one room

  • Reduces carbon footprint by eliminating process interruptions, intermediate storage needs, and material transport 

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