Pfizer, Rowan pursue solvent recovery

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has teamed with Rowan University to develop green manufacturing techniques. The focus is solvents--often the primary waste component in API production.

The collaborators are investigating the economic and environmental impacts of solvent recovery and reuse in small-volume waste streams, as opposed to incineration. Solvent recovery is already used in large-scale operations, but existing techniques don't lend themselves to small-scale operations.

The Rowan team designed a system for isopropanol solvent recovery from the manufacture of nelfinavir, the active ingredient in the antiretroviral drug Viracept. Researchers also evaluated the system for use with other of Pfizer's small-volume waste streams from multi-product facilities.

Computer-based life-cycle assessment for three drugs showed CO2 emission reductions of 677,000 kg per year.

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