Lilly invests $40 million in Irish continuous manufacturing facility
- Eli Lilly will invest €35 million to build a continuous API manufacturing facility at its existing manufacturing site in Kinsale, Cork Country, Ireland. The facility will be used for development and commercialization of Lilly's late-stage pipeline.
- There are noteworthy advantages associated with continuous manufacturing, particularly the ability to manufacture product more quickly in smaller facilities. Continuous manufacturing feeds raw materials for solid-dose products through a continuous, nonstop process. This facilitates real-time release testing, as well as the ability to produce commercial-ready tablets in one day.
- Lilly has operated out of its Kinsale manufacturing site for 35 years. Over the past eight years, the company has ramped up investment, spending €650 million and hiring 350 additional employees.
Despite the many upsides associated with continuous manufacturing, uptake in the pharma industry has been slow due to a general resistance against switching to new processes and equipment. The tried-and-true batch processing, which the industry has relied on for more than a century, has proven resilient even with increased attention being devoted to new production methods.
However, some companies including Johnson & Johnson and GSK have begun making the switch, according to Fierce. Part of the push to change is coming directly from regulators and the federal government.
A new report from the National Science and Technology Council, published this month, advocated for the benefits of continuous manufacturing. It highlighted the significantly smaller facility footprint required for continuous manufacturing and estimated implementing the processes could reduce manufacturing costs by up to 40 or 50%.
The FDA has also previously indicated its support for implementing continuous manufacturing, although noted a lack of experience with it in the industry has been a challenge.