Continuous manufacturing has been on the agenda of pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers for quite some time. But some visionary people, along with a highly motivated and dedicated team, were needed to make this vision reality. It all came together in a project called SPRINT (Secondary Process Intensifi cation). The project is funded by the British Technology Strategy Board as an initiative aimed at helping the UK pharmaceutical industry maintain worldwide competitiveness in pharmaceutical manufacturing. A consortium that includes GlaxoSmithKline, GEA, and Siemens Ltd. was formed to push continuous processing and improve pharmaceutical manufacturing effi ciency in the UK in response to competition from emerging markets.
Secondary manufacturing processes typically suffer from low equipment utilization and are labor intensive and based on a process setup that requires extensive release procedures.
This is particularly true of oral solids dosage (OSD) manufacturing, which is characterized by high inventory requirements (including “work in progress”), long changeover times, disconnected processes, high process losses, and low asset utilization. Additionally, the product quality is ascertained in postproduction analysis, which means that it can take as long as two months for a batch to be released.