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7. Continuous Manufacturing

Stewart Mitchell


Project Manager, CMAC Future Manufacturing Research Hub, University of Strathclyde

Continuous Manufacturing Workstream (App A) Lead


Continuous processing represents a step change in manufacturing of medicines. This workstream created a shared platform for process technologies which involved a number of technology companies and their end users to develop and prove high-tech application technologies in areas such as mobile continuous processing, higher pressure hydrogenation and crystallisation.


These have been four years of tremendous change and progress. We were luck enough to be joined by end-users such as Thomas Swan and Robertson Brothers, helping us take ideas into production in right high-value chemicals for pharmaceuticals environment. These are leaders in UK-based manufacturing who were seeking to apply technology solutions to compete on cost effectiveness, while also being able to deliver alternative chemistries and added responsiveness to help them retain their place in very competitive markets.


As well as Thomas Swan and Robertson Brothers, Blacktrace, Cambridge Reactor Design, Intensichem, PSE, Perceptive Engineering and C-Tech all developed and demonstrated continuous manufacturing units. I would like to see these relationships continue to help the translation of all of these beyond proof of concept and pilots to front line manufacturing use.


Over the time CMAC grew and has now seeded the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. I know that continuous manufacturing is on the radar for all companies, but it can still seem to be something like moving a supertanker to change the course the direction of Pharma manufacturing. It is difficult in a highly regulated environment for an established process to be changed for compliance reasons. However, we are seeing shifts in specific areas to continuous, and, arguably, the direction of travel can only be in one way.