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Indian pharma mulls continuous flow processing tech as cost-effective option to batch processing

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharma could consider continuous flow processing technology which is a cost-effective alternative to batch processing. This is because consistency in manufacture is an ongoing challenge.

Flow chemistry is an emerging technology that is gaining attention in pharma due to the advantages offered over traditional batch production, such as dramatic savings in space, cost, and time while also enhancing purity, increasing yields, and providing an inherently safer technology.

Many Indian chemical and pharmaceutical companies are turning to continuous manufacturing techniques to supplement, or even replace, their batch production processes. Most of the top 30 active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturers have either deployed or tested Corning’s Advanced-Flow Reactor (AFR) Technology.

Chemical engineers have long recognized that continuous flow processing is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to batch processing. We have seen an increased interest in continuous processing over the past few years, said Sudhir Pillai, managing director, Corning India.

By offering greater efficiency in production and with the ability to scale-up seamlessly from the laboratory to full production in very limited time made Corning’s AFR technology a trusted and popular solution globally he added.

Indian market cannot be ignored. AFR provides continuous process production capacity of up to hundreds of kilograms per hour for pharmaceutical chemicals, base chemicals, fine and specialty chemicals. To date, Corning has been installed at over 60 industrial production units across Asia, Europe and the US including four additional large-scale continuous manufacturing processes with throughputs of 10,000 – 20,000 tonnes/annum, Pillai told Pharmabiz.

As the pharmacy for the world and with a surge in investments, for us, India has shown great potential and continues to grow significantly and drive growth for our business outside of the US market. For AFR, we are working closely with IIT Delhi to proactively establish a centre to educate industry participants and provide an experience with our reactors. We will continue to invest and introduce meaningful products and technologies that would drive the pharmaceutical industry forward, Pillai said.

Companies are keen to adopt strategies to tap a higher market share. Indian pharma has the largest number of US FDA compliant plants outside of the US. Besides, the industry has more than 2000 WHO-GMP and 253 European Directorate of Quality Medicines (EDQM) approved plants. Corning AFR Technology is a disruptive innovation in the chemical industry and has been implemented in several applications at commercial scales. AFR enables significant economic and social benefits and is a key technology enabling intelligent manufacturing for the future, said Pillai.

The market has been slow to adopt flow processing and we are now poised for a change. With over two-decade experience in flow reactor technology along with the success stories of multiple commercial production units delivering over 10,000 tons/annum, Corning AFR is sending a strong message to companies and we are seeing an acceleration in the adoption of flow over the last three years, Pillai further said.


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