Life Cycle Analysis within Pharmaceutical Process Optimization and Intensification: Case Study of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Production
As the demand for new drugs is rising, the pharmaceutical industry faces the quest of shortening development time, and thus, reducing the time to market. Environmental aspects typically still play a minor role within the early phase of process development. Nevertheless, it is highly promising to rethink, redesign, and optimize process strategies as early as possible in active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) process development, rather than later at the stage of already established processes. The study presented herein deals with a holistic life-cycle-based process optimization and intensification of a pharmaceutical production process targeting a low-volume, high-value API. Striving for process intensification by transfer from batch to continuous processing, as well as an alternative catalytic system, different process options are evaluated with regard to their environmental impact to identify bottlenecks and improvement potentials for further process development activities.