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Outsourcing Pharma: Paul Quigley on going with the flow in drug substance manufacturing

Dr. Paul Quigley

In a conversation with Outsourcing Pharma at CPHI Barcelona, Dr. Paul Quigley, principal research fellow of drug substance at Quotient Sciences, explained how continuous flow manufacturing is taking off in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

APIs are traditionally made using a method called batch manufacturing. This can require hundreds of tons of raw material and the drug substance manufacturing process often takes months. Another major disadvantage of this process is that it can be difficult to perform safely and sustainably when hazardous reagents are used at high temperatures and pressures.

To overcome this obstacle, Quotient Sciences is part of a growing wave of companies exploring an alternative approach known as flow technology or continuous flow manufacturing. Flow technology has been around for centuries, the process is often used to mass-produce industrial chemicals using catalysts. This method continuously mixes reagents in tubes and requires much smaller amounts of hazardous reagents than batch processes.

Paul Quigley says flow technology could reduce waste in the API manufacturing process and make it safer, faster, and cheaper.

In December 2022, Quotient Sciences completed the construction of a flexible, modular, kilo-scale drug substance manufacturing facility at our Quotient Sciences Alnwick site, a £6 million investment. This investment created 4 production suites, which can house a range of reactors, both continuous and batch, with the latter going up to 150 L in scale. Our Alnwick, UK, facility was perfectly placed for this expansion and it had both the available space and a wealth of local, expert scientific talent with an abundance of experience.

The impact of continuous flow manufacturing technology on the pharmaceutical industry is just beginning to be felt, and the World Economic Forum included them in its list of the 10 best new technologies of 2021.

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