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Embracing Green Chemistry

There’s an article on Piramal’s Pharma Solutions division at PharmTech about how they are encouraging pharma companies to implement green chemistry earlier in the drug development cycle.

Yes, we agree  – it’s a great idea!
And yes – Neuland is (and has been) on board with the move towards greener chemistry.

The article reinforces a concept we’ve been emphasizing here at PharmaNotes for years: designing a more efficient drug production process should begin at the earliest possible stages.

In fact, the earlier – the better.

Green Chemistry – It’s Not Just for Earth Day

Green chemistry and the concept of benign-by-design drugNeuland EHS manufacturing are not simply hashtags to be trotted out each Earth Day. They are at the very core of sound drug manufacturing principles. Yes, they can have a positive impact from an EHS perspective (and ultimately, a manufacturing cost perspective), but implementing a green chemistry approach can yield other benefits, as well – including in the realms of safety and efficacy.

Generally, the team at Piramal has laid out some solid guidelines for implementing green chemistry: at the earliest possible development stages for innovative products, and post-Phase 2 for generics (once they’ve passed the riskier clinical efficacy stage).

Striving for Atom Efficiency

On the generic side, a substantial number of Neuland’s projects involve alternate route scouting at Phase 2, in order to achieve atom efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. I would agree with and reinforce the point the article makes: “most companies tend to examine process efficiency only in later stages of drug development, if at all.”

We’ve performed (or are currently involved in) numerous projects with compounds at the earliest stages, and sometimes it is an uphill battle to impress upon the client the benefits of looking at processes from a discharge, infrastructure and cost perspective.

Scouting for additional – better – routes may slightly lengthen development time, but the potential offsets almost always prove more than worth it. In fact – at later (generally bulk) scales, those cleaner processes may be the key decisive element that makes the drug candidate commercially feasible.

The PharmTech article references the need for better tools to implement cleaner chemistry practices, and shares some of the existing techniques and methods – most of which we routinely use with client projects.

Kudos to Piramal and PharmTech for shining a light on this issue, and here’s hoping green chemistry becomes SOP industry-wide. Read the PharmTech article here.


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