On August 27, 2022, PharmaBlock (300725. SZSE), a global, fully integrated pharmaceutical CDMO focused on innovative chemistry and low carbon manufacturing, announced the official opening of GMP Workshop 502 (W502) at PharmaBlock Zhejiang. W502 is specially equipped with micro-channel and continuous tubular reactors, which will effectively enhance the large-scale continuous manufacturing, i.e., flow chemistry, capacity at PharmaBlock.
The total reactor volume of W502 is 93.3 m3, and it is equipped with 3 clean area production lines and continuous manufacturing areas. The continuous manufacturing area is equipped with micro-channel and continuous tubular reactors, which can realize a variety of reaction types such as low-temperature reactions, high-temperature and high-pressure reactions, nitration reactions, oxidation reactions, and Curtius rearrangement reactions. Meanwhile, the automation capability of W502 has been greatly improved beyond the industry standard, including automatic temperature and pressure control, automatic inlet and outlet valves, material integration transfer, safety interlocking, etc. This has greatly improved the quality control and safety management capabilities of the workshop. The multi-functional workshop is more flexible and effectively improves production efficiency.
At the commissioning ceremony of W502, Dr. Jingwei Zhu, President of PharmaBlock Zhejiang, shared the highlghts of W502 and subsequent capacity expansion plan.
President of PharmaBlock Zhejiang
Question 1: What are the currently operational production configuration highlights of W502?
Dr. Jingwei Zhu: The most significant highlight of W502 is the combination of continuous manufacturing capacity and plant automation. The continuous manufacturing area further enhances the production and application of continuous flow technology at PharmaBlock, which better meets the specific needs of different large-scale manufacturing projects. The equipment features the characteristics of low liquid holding capacity, short reaction time, and accurate process control, which makes the manufacturing process intrinsically safe. Furthermore, plant space can be utilized at the highest efficiency. There are many control modules attached to the equipment to achieve a high degree of process automation, making production more efficient, with more consistent product quality. In addition to the highly automated continuous production equipment, many processing parameters on other types of equipment are also controlled automatically, putting it far above the current industry standard. These control measures include automatic temperature and pressure control, material integration and transfer, and interlock control alarm. In conjunction with the current cutting-edge design seen in the CDMO industry, it greatly improves the operability and flexibility of the equipment. The process is controlled by a DCS automatic control system, which realizes online production monitoring and greatly improves process safety and reliability.
Question 2: How do you view the application of green chemical technologies, such as continuous manufacturing, in the pharmaceutical industry in the future?
Dr. Jingwei Zhu: The pharmaceutical industry is constantly adapting continuous manufacturing technology, which has been an ongoing trend in the pharmaceutical industry. Continuous manufacturing technology plays an important role in the improvement of productivity, safety, and green production. PharmaBlock has independently developed and built continuous flow reaction devices in-house for different volumes, materials, and mixing mechanisms. We have also mastered the application of continuous flow technology to more than 40 types of reactions and can produce at the metric ton scale.
In addition to continuous flow chemistry, our cutting-edge capability platform consisting of micropacked bed technology, biocatalysis, metal catalysis, and intelligent manufacturing that we have built has helped solve technical challenges for many projects at large production scale. It has also enabled our customers to shorten the development and production cycle, and ultimately lower overall costs.
Question 3: What are the subsequent expansion plans for PharmaBlock Zhejiang?
Dr. Jingwei Zhu: The PharmaBlock Zhejiang production site will continue to expand. Workshop 503 is scheduled to open in the first half of 2023. It is expected to add a total of 190 m3 of reactor capacity, and it will have two cleanroom suites. The workshop improves the operability and flexibility of its equipment through a multi-functional modular design. These added control modules such as process interlock modules and automatic inertization cycles will raise the degree of automation to an industry-leading level. In addition, planning is underway for two more workshops, W505 and W506, to increase our production capacity even further.
CTO of PharmaBlock, attended the opening ceremony of W502