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Pharma companies head to Rutgers for glimpse of manufacturing technology

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Representatives from about two dozen pharmaceutical companies are expected to attend an open house at Rutgers University on Thursday to learn more about an innovative manufacturing system that will improve control, streamline production and lower costs.

The Rutgers University Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems, known as C-SOPS, is hosting the event at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on the Busch campus. After a decade of research and construction, the $2 million facility was built with funding from the National Science Foundation.

"This is very exciting for us," said Douglas Hausner, associate director for industrial relations and business development at C-SOPS. "We have the ability to make a real impact on the industry. It's part of a large effort by the university to move the pharmaceutical industry forward from a technical point of view."

The new system involves the manufacturing of powder-based products, which can include pharmaceuticals, foods, cosmetics and agrochemicals. The complexities have kept most manufacturers dependent on traditional batch processing, in which all the ingredients are put in a single drum and turned into product. If something goes wrong during the process, he said, the whole batch is ruined, and millions of dollars can be wasted.

With the new continuous manufacturing method, raw materials are manufactured in a series in which there is greater control during the process. If something goes wrong, the only product that must be disposed of is whatever was in the machine at the time it was not running properly.

"We are now able to provide pharmaceutical companies the services to test out the feasibility of doing this for themselves," Hausner said. "We can help the companies implement this process."

C-SOPS is working closely with Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen subsidiary to construct a mirror company in Puerto Rico.

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