Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Siemens have agreed to be founding members of a new consortium launched by the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR).

The new A*STAR R&D Consortium Programme – Innovative Processing of Specialties and Pharmaceuticals (iPSP) is designed to help pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry players bring drugs from trials to markets by addressing challenges that include costs, regulatory compliance, and responsiveness in production and processes.

iPSP says it will bring together industry leaders to address accessing emerging “next-generation manufacturing” technologies for pharmaceutical manufacturing that generate improvements in cost, quality, environmental impact, and process robustness. The consortium program will also be designed to facilitate technology transfer and manpower development in advanced chemical processing technologies.

iPSP expands a relationship between one of its founding members and ICES that stretches back 10 years, to 2003. Most recently in April, ICES and GSK signed a five-year strategic agreement to develop for emerging markets new evidence-based formulations, medicines reformulated to provide additional patient benefit.

The new consortium program will draw on ICES resources such as the Kilo Scale Laboratory—where a Siemens Sipat system oversees data management—as well as a pilot-scale multipurpose continuous plant, a fully equipped development laboratory, and staff experienced in process development and operation. ICES core skill areas include chemistry, chemical engineering, analytics, control, formulation science, and catalysis.

iPSP will see research activities undertaken in process analytics, Quality by Design, and continuous manufacturing systems.

“ICES has built strong and deep capabilities in the understanding of process science and technologies, and the time is ripe for such depth and breadth of knowledge to be applied to the chemicals and pharmaceutical industries,” Keith Carpenter, Ph.D., the institute’s executive director, said in a statement. “By identifying common research focus, companies can mutually benefit from joint research. This will enable companies to address industry-wide challenges and further reinforce the competitiveness of Singapore’s chemicals industry.”

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