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Driving Green Engineering in Pharma


1. GlaxoSmithKline, 5 Moore Dr, RTP, NC, 27709, USA
2. GlaxoSmithKline, 709 Swedeland Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA


Improving the efficiency of pharmaceutical manufacturing is a key enabler for providing access to affordable, sustainably produced medicines for an ever-expanding patient population. While green chemistry has been a relatively recent focus for driving cost and environmental improvements in drug manufacture, the need to couple green engineering concepts with better chemistry has been recognised as a critical aspect of drug product development. To advocate for green engineering research, key areas for focus have been identified. While internal company efforts are essential to driving ‘green’ processing methods, public-private partnerships, such as the GSK-Singapore Partnership for Green and Sustainable Manufacture, play a key role by advancing key research areas and training students through significant, pre-competitive investment.


The pharmaceutical industry is dedicated to the development and production of medicines that enable people to live healthier and longer lives. However, producing these medicines involves a complex series of challenges, as new drug molecules and their delivery methods are increasingly more complex, requiring chemical routes and manufacturing processes are often complicated and costly using current development and manufacturing paradigms. In addition to these difficulties, the pharmaceutical industry has a large level of attrition (it has been reported that for every 5,000 molecules discovered, only five of them advance through clinical trials and 1 may be approved to market (1). The cost of development requires rapid, efficient development and manufa