Medicine manufacturers ditch batch methods for continuous production

The widespread trend to move away from batch producing medicine is driving the continuous processing technology market to double in size. Classically, pharma has manufactured medicines in stages, batch by batch ­– which allowed firms to responsively flex output in accordance to demand.

However, recent trends have seen larger pharma firms switch to continuous processing to pick up improvements in productivity. Production steps that are carried out sequentially in a classic batch process are integrated in a continuous process. Active ingredients are produced in compact, closed units, leveraging opportunities for automation and fewer manual interventions.

This method allows manufacturing units to be constantly utilized, so fluctuations in production are reduced and there are opportunities to perform reactions that cannot be run under batch processing.

Continuous manufacturing technology for pharmaceuticals provides superior development speeds and higher process safety when employing hazardous chemistries.

Market growth for this technology  

The continuous manufacturing technology market which was worth US$1.74bn in 2016 is expected to attain a value of US$3.693bn in 2025, according to Transparency Market Research.

The dominant region, Europe, accounted for a 35% share in 2016. This is mainly due to the early availability of advanced technologies and greater number of technology providers across the region.

Biologics driving the market

The key application segment of this technology is biologic medicine, holding around 35% of the market, followed by active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The need for more speed to the market in biomanufacturing is fueling the acceptance and implementation of single use systems in manufacturing lines, despite their complications.

The use of single-use bioprocessing equipment is making product manufacture increasingly efficient and frequently less costly, particularly for early stages of R&D.

Some have fully committed to the shift from stainless steel equipment, with the ambition to have fully disposable manufacturing lines one day.

This article was written by Chanice Henry from Pharma IQ.

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