Cambrex caps latest addition of continuous flow manufacturing at North Carolina plant

Pills and vitamins
A growing number of pharma companies have been investing in continuous manufacturing because of the cost and time advantages of producing small-molecule drugs. (Steven Depolo)

CDMO Cambrex, an early adopter of continuous flow manufacturing, has completed installation of multiple continuous flow reactor platforms at its facility in High Point, North Carolina.

A growing number of pharma companies have been investing in continuous manufacturing 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.

The addition of the technology at its North Carolina site is part of the company’s plan to bulk up its overall developmental capabilities. It also marks the latest investment at its High Point site and follows on the heels of the completion and qualification of a new 11,000-square-foot analytical laboratory and a 400-square-foot pilot plant expansion with a reactor capacity of 4,000 liters.

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The cost of the continuous flow addition wasn’t disclosed.

“We are seeing significant interest in continuous flow development and production, predominantly from established pharmaceutical companies looking for process improvements in phase 2,” Brian Swierenga, a Cambrex vice president, said in a statement. “We have designed the new laboratory and GMP pilot plant with maximum flexibility in mind, allowing us to explore the possibilities for both new and existing production projects, either on a FTE or custom contract basis.”

Earlier this year, the company announced a deal to make intermediates for AstraZeneca at Cambrex’s plant in Karlskoga, Sweden, where it installed continuous flow technology as part of a completed expansion there. Cambrex said in 2016 it planned to invest about $9 million to expand its API capacity at the Karlskoga site. The continuous flow unit at the plant has a capacity to produce up to 1000kg of product per day.