Rutgers Continuous Manufacturing Facility is Revolutionizing Pharmaceutical Industry

In the changing global pharmaceutical market, competition, regulation, and economic conditions are driving the need to introduce new processes and products.  Innovations in pharmaceutical manufacturing alone have the potential to provide important economic and technology leadership opportunities.  Rutgers University chemical engineering researchers and students are developing new nanoscale products and innovative processes to manufacture pharmaceutical products that will significantly increase pharmaceutical efficacy and manufacturing efficiency.

The Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS) at Rutgers includes a two-story, state-of-the-art continuous manufacturing lab—a $2 million dollar full-scale production line built with funding from the National Science Foundation and industry partner Janssen Pharmaceuticals—that allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to “test drive” the system with their own pharmaceutical products to determine efficacy, quality, consistency, production speed, and cost savings.

Megatrend for the Future

Working in conjunction with partners Purdue University, The New Jersey Institute of Technology, and The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, the C-SOPS team of researchers and scientists have spent more than a decade focused on designing and implementing continuous manufacturing methods for powder-based pharmaceutical products. 

According to Fernando J. Muzzio, director of the C-SOPS, when the center launched in 2006 continuous manufacturing was a “debatable target.” 

“Much has happened since then related to process analytical technology,” explains Muzzio. “Continuous manufacturing is now identified by the FDA as a ‘manufacturing megatrend for the next twenty-five years.’”

Students Get Involved

Research opportunities within C-SOPS provide hands-on experience in a cutting-edge industry for both undergraduate and graduate students. Projects include development of unit operations, formulations, and process analytical technology techniques, material properties characterization, and computer modeling, just to name a few.