Continuus lands $69.3m US drug manufacturing contract

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(aleksejplatonov/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(aleksejplatonov/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Fda US government Continuous manufacturing API Supply chain COVID-19

The small-molecule pharmaceuticals manufacturer secured a DoD/HHS government contract to manufacture critical medicines for a range of conditions.

Continuus Pharmaceuticals, a firm that uses proprietary integrated continuous manufacturing (ICM) technology to manufacture drugs, has been granted a $69.3m (57 EUR) contract to manufacture three different medicines. The contract, awarded by the US Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also will be used for construction of the country’s first GMP-certified facility for ICM-driven facility of small-molecule marketed drugs, generic medicines and investigational therapies, through all clinical trial phases and the rest of a product’s lifecycle.

Salvatore Mascia, Continuus Pharmaceuticals founder and CEO, said, “We are honored to receive this important contract from the DoD and HHS, both of which recognize the urgency of ramping up domestic production of critical-care medicines. In addition to streamlining continuous, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient production of these medicines, this contract will help us build a state-of-the-art facility that will address urgent pharmaceutical supply chain issues, ultimately speeding the delivery of high-quality, affordable medications to patients, while also creating US-based jobs​.”

Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said seeing a business in his state help play a role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and other potential health crises is a positive.

“Through efforts like the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team and the Accelerating Coronavirus Testing Solutions program, our Administration has been advancing both homegrown supply chains and scientific innovations, and this new DoD/HHS contract is yet another testament to the Commonwealth's strong life sciences and biomanufacturing leadership​,” Kennealy commented.

The contract represents a growing interest by government entities and industry firms to step up US-based production of key medicines and drug ingredients. The practice is intended to help reduce exposures to risks such as supply interruption due to pandemics, weather catastrophes, overseas unrest and other situations.

According to the company, its ICM technology can reduce a drug’s production time from months or years, to a few days, which can be helpful in mitigating shortages of critical therapies. In addition, the approach also enables the firm to manufacture multiple drug products in quick successions with lines that are readily transported between locations (referred to as mobile pharmaceuticals, or MoP) to further tackle supply-chain challenges.

Beyond addressing national security needs in obtaining critical-care medicines from overseas, we will work with hospitals and pharmacies to ensure that other key drugs, such as epinephrine and ciprofloxacin, are never again in shortage​," said Bayan Takizawa, cofounder and chief business officer of Continuus. "The impact on the pharmaceutical industry will also be significant, as our technology eliminates the typical delays associated with scale-up, allowing companies to accelerate development of small-molecule drugs for faster delivery to patients in need​."

The company plans to break ground on the new facility in Woburn, Massachusetts in late January, anticipating the plant will be fully up and running within two years.

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