Finding cleaner and more efficient ways to make lifesaving, innovative medicines is good for business and contributes to our “Be Well” mission.
One of the key components of our Environmental Sustainability Strategy involves using innovative science and technology to design manufacturing processes that will minimize our environmental footprint. By using more efficient processing methods, we can reduce the amount of energy, water and raw materials we use to make our products, and also reduce the amount of waste we generate.
We calculate how many kilograms of raw materials (including water) are used to produce one kilogram of an active pharmaceutical ingredient, to identify process improvement opportunities.
In 2015, we renamed our internal Green Chemistry program “Green and Sustainable Science” to be more inclusive of the various environmental improvement programs in all of our research areas, including chemistry, biologics and vaccines. Our scientists and engineers are trained in the use of green design principles and have the skills to design more environmentally benign manufacturing processes.
We see science and innovation as critical enablers to developing sustainable, low-cost manufacturing processes, which provide both environmental and economic benefits over the lifetime of our products. We have increased our focus on innovative approaches such as biocatalysis, which provides a more sustainable means of manufacturing complex pharmaceutical compounds than traditional chemical synthesis methods.
As part of our Green and Sustainable Science program, we calculate the Process Mass Intensity (PMI) of our human health products. PMI reflects the number of kilograms of raw materials (including water) used to produce one kilogram of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) or biologic. PMI is a good indicator of how efficiently we convert raw materials into final products. We use this metric internally to compare different manufacturing methods, identify process improvement opportunities, and track our progress.
Since the establishment of the annual Presidential Green Chemistry Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1996, we have been the only pharmaceutical company to be recognized with three Green Chemistry Awards for innovative process improvements.
We are a founding member of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) Pharmaceutical Roundtable, a partnership between the ACS GCI and member pharmaceutical companies. In addition to developing new tools that drive the integration of sustainability into process design, Roundtable members work together to support and advance academic research and education on new ways to apply green science and engineering principles to pharmaceutical discovery and production processes. We are currently collaborating with other ACS GCI member companies to develop new tools and publish information about sustainable production practices that are specifically relevant to bioprocessing.
For more information about our efforts to increase the use of recovered solvents and to prevent waste, click here.