Engineered System: Continuous Processing of Pharmaceuticals

The Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (ERC-CSOPS), headquartered at Rutgers University, has partnered with major players in the pharmaceutical industry to innovate processes for the continuous manufacturing of pharmaceutical tablets and capsules. Continuous processing improves drug quality and reduces manufacturing costs by eliminating non-uniformities that are unavoidable in batch production. NSF and industrial partners, which included competing companies, provided supplemental funds to leverage promising research results by building experimental continuous production lines, which may well become the industry standard.

After one year, Johnson and Johnson has committed to spending $12 million to bring the technology into their facilities for large-scale manufacturing. A plant in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, has been outfitted with the ERC-developed manufacturing line as a protype of this new processing technology. The facility, which has been developed in close collaboration between the ERC, J&J, and CSOPS member companies Glatt Air and K-Tron, represents a significant step forward in pharmaceutical manufacturing technology. It is a prime example of an engineered system.