Last month, manufacturer of pharmaceutical processing machinery LB Bohle inaugurated its new Technology Center in Ennigerloh, Germany. The building cost €2m ($2.3m), and is fitted with €3m of process equipment and software.
The Center allows drugmakers to test their products on a continuous production platform, according to spokesman Tobias Borgers, and will help encourage a shift away from batch production, something he said the pharma industry has been slow to do.
“The pharmaceutical industry is a conservative department,” he told in-Pharmatechnologist.com. “In this way they avoid new ways in processing and high costs for new production units.”
Continuous manufacturing brings a number of benefits, he added, including a more flexible approach, speedier reaction to market demands, and a huge saving in time through the use of process analytical technology (PAT) to monitor and verify production.
But “continuous is a totally new way in processing and automation,” he continued, and “an FDA approval is necessary,” which is making pharma firms hesitant to invest.
Therefore he hopes LB Bohle’s new facility will help adjust this mind-set: “Customers can test and find solutions in our Technology Center in order to convince themselves of the functionality of the process.”
The Center was set-up in collaboration with a number of industry and research partners – including tablet press firm Korsch, IT firm Siemens, and the Universities of Düsseldorf and Graz – and contains continuous blenders and dosing units, dry/wet granulators, second blending and dosing unit, tablet press and continuous coaters.
“Here at Bohle we create the process development together with our customer and the customer buys not only a machine but also a process,” Borgers told us, adding since the inauguration several top pharma firms have shown interest in these platforms.