Continuous manufacturing: When will everyone be doing it?

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Natali_Mis)
(Image: Getty/Natali_Mis)

Related tags Continuous manufacturing Pfizer

The answer, according to consultant Emil Ciurczak, is in 10 years – at least, if generics manufacturers and CMOs want to be competitive.

The claim was made ahead of CPhI Worldwide next week in the event’s annual report, entitled: Pharma’s year of accelerated innovation & convergence.

In his piece, Emil Ciurczak, president of Doramaxx Consulting, is bullish about the future of continuous manufacturing’s implementation in the industry. He states, “The question is no longer, ‘Will continuous manufacturing work?’, but ‘When will everyone be doing it?’”

Why companies chose not to pursue CM:

1. We’ve never done this or we have no one with experience on staff.

2. We have so much money invested in traditional equipment, so why spend more?

3. We can’t get it past Quality Assurance.

4. We have no place to set it up.

5. We’ve always done it this way.

Ciurczak sees four major factors as being significant in pushing companies towards adopting continuous manufacturing: the development of advanced equipment, competitive pressures, a wider pool of trained scientists, and the backing of regulators.

In terms of timelines, he expects to see “exponential growth”​ in continuous manufacturing uptake over the next five years but expects that the economic efficiencies will become increasingly pronounced after this period, through “faster and more efficient drug development”​.

One country that Ciurczak expects to make rapid progress is China – he claims that, over the next five years, the country will be the fastest adopter of continuous manufacturing.

A major refrain in the report is of the importance of companies feeling the ‘need’ to take action, in order to see continuous manufacturing as part of a viable future of the industry.

Ciurczak identifies where this ‘need’ may come from – the move towards greater efficiency. He uses the example of Pfizer splitting up its business into three units​ as part of a wider trend for the industry to reform businesses into smaller units and to find savings within. Particularly, he states this will place production costs under a new microscope.”

At the end of this five to 10-year road towards continuous manufacturing, Ciurczak believes the benefits will be felt by all stakeholders, concluding: “This is a case where a ‘feeding frenzy’ of hardware, software, and technical expertise will be a win-win-win for pharma companies, physicians (more choices of better-made drugs), and patients (lower prices and better made products).”

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