Cambrex adds continuous manufacturing to sites in U.S. and Europe

An API capacity expansion at the Cambrex site in Karlskoga, Sweden includes continuous manufacturing technology. (Cambrex)

CDMO Cambrex has decided to be an early adopter of continuous flow manufacturing, incorporating the technology at a site in Sweden, where it will make intermediates for AstraZeneca.  

The two companies this week marked the inauguration of a long-term supply agreement at the Cambrex plant in Karlskoga, Sweden, where the company has installed continuous flow technology as part of a recently completed expansion.

“Continuous flow offers potential advantages in manufacturing cost, product quality through improved impurity profiles, and produces less waste than other manufacturing methods thus reducing the environmental impact,” Cambrex COO Shawn Cavanagh said in an emailed statement.

Cambrex in 2016 announced it would invest about $9 million to expand its API capacity at the Karlskoga site. The continuous flow unit, which has a capacity to produce up to 1000kg of product per day, is part of that expansion.  

RELATED: Cambrex buying Pharmacore in $25M deal

Cavanagh said Cambrex is also installing continuous flow technology at its facility in High Point, North Carolina, so that it can be introduced early in process development and clinical supply phases.

East Rutherford, New Jersey-based Cambrex got the 35,000 square-foot High Point facility in 2016 when it paid about $25 million to buy clinical supply maker Pharmacore.

RELATED: Vertex, J&J, GSK, Novartis all working on continuous manufacturing facilities

A small but growing cadre of pharma companies has adding continuous manufacturing to their mix because of the cost and time advantages of producing small-molecule drugs.  Unlike traditional batch processing, which takes weeks to complete, continuous manufacturing feeds raw materials for solid-dose products through a nonstop process that can provide real-time release testing and produce commercial-ready tablets in a day.

Vertex was the first drug company to get FDA approval for a continuous flow facility for a novel drug, building in parallel with the approval process for its cystic fibrosis med Orkambi.