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Future Pharma: A Greener Way to Make More Drugs?

Posted By Paul Tate, November 29, 2012 at 5:43 AM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

A groundbreaking research project to develop more sustainable manufacturing practices for the world’s pharmaceuticals industry was officially launched in Europe today.

Led by UK pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) and researchers at the University of Manchester, the new initiative also includes Germany’s Bayer, the UK arm of America’s Pfizer, France’s Sanofi Chemie, Belgium’s Janssen Pharmaceutica, Finland’s Orion Corporation, 12 other European universities and a group of pharma-focused smaller firms.

Called CHEM21, the project’s bold ambition is to develop sustainable biotech alternatives to using finite materials, like precious metals, which are currently applied as catalysts in the manufacture of medicines in pharma factories around the world.

GSK’s involvement in the project is being led by John Baldoni, Senior Vice President of Platform Technology and Science in GSK’s R&D division. Baldoni is also the creator of a unique idea generation team in GSK called The Seekers, formed earlier this year to help ‘seek out’ disruptive innovations and actively stimulate tipping points that could change the future of the pharma industry.

“Improving the sustainability of our drug manufacturing processes through collaborations such as CHEM21 will not only reduce our industry’s carbon footprint,” predicted Boldini, “but will also provide savings that can be reinvested in the development of new medicines, increase access to medicines through cost reduction, and drive innovations that will simplify and transform our manufacturing paradigm.”

With $34 million (€26.4 million) in EU funding over an initial 4-year term, the new project is claimed to be Europe’s largest public-private partnership dedicated to the development of green chemistry and sustainable pharmaceuticals manufacturing. It aims to create a world-class research hub in catalysis and sustainable chemical synthesis and will develop training packages on the principles of sustainable manufacturing to be used in the education of future scientists.

Are you exploring new ways to increase the sustainability of your manufacturing practices in your pharma organization?

Do you think collaborative innovation initiatives like CHEM21 are likely to deliver new manufacturing solutions that could create a tipping point for the global pharma sector?

Written by Paul Tate

Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive


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