The firm, a subsidiary of the American Pacific Corporation, installed the new units in series at its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production facility in Rancho Cordova, California after trialing the technology in 2008.
Richard Beatty, VP of product management, explained that: "The LLC process improvement was demonstrated last year at bench scale by the R&D group and was transferred to commercial scale this summer."
"This change in the process is a major milestone in achieving an increased throughput by removing a volumetric pinch point in the overall process. As a result we could increase the batch size significantly and thus reduce costs."
AFC president Aslam Malik agreed, adding that: “We expect to see more [demand for] commercial scale continuous processes in the next few years."
“We have been doing continuous chromatography at commercial scale for 10 years and earlier this year we opened a kilo facility dedicated to continuous processes. The implementation of these technologies for the manufacturing of APIs is the result of AFC's commitment to continuous processing.”
Industrial-scale liquid-liquid centrifuges, as the name suggests, are used to separate one liquid from another. They offer several advantages over traditional extraction methods with the most important being the ability to conduct continuous extraction.
This approach has obvious benefits for API makers like Ampac, ranging from shorter production timelines to the need for reduced maintenance.
At a time when pharmaceutical firms are increasingly reliant on outsourced production capacity, any contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) that is capable of producing more of an API, faster and at lower cost is likely to attract business.