Novartis plans to fund joint-research program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to developing new technologies to improve pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiencies.

Novartis will fund a $65 million joint-research program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aimed at developing new technologies to improve pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiencies. The 10-year research program will focus on changing current pharmaceutical production methods from a batch-based system to a continuous manufacturing process. Under a batch-based production process, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are synthesized at one facility then transferred to another for conversion into pills, liquids or creams. The problem with batch-production processes is each batch may take weeks to produce and involves several steps, the partners said.

Under a continuous manufacturing process, there is no interruption of production from one step to the next. According to MIT,   benefits of constant throughput is that equipment, infrastructure and buildings can be significantly reduced in size, which in turn saves investment costs. Operation of smaller units requires less energy and raw material consumption. Furthermore, due to the continuous flow of product, no interruption of the process occurs while assuring quality with real time, online analysis.