Green & Sustainable Science

Green & Sustainable Science

Developing innovative, cost-efficient manufacturing processes with low environmental impact aligns with our mission.

By using more efficient and innovative processing methods and technologies, we are reducing the amount of energy, water and raw materials we use to make our products, thereby minimizing the amount of waste we generate and lowering our production costs.

We aim to develop the most efficient and sustainable processes at product launch, with the goal of minimizing material use and waste from our manufacturing processes. We utilize an innovative, ‘green-by-design’ development strategy, to progress from initial process chemistry to a fully optimized sustainable commercial manufacturing process. We have set a new target to ensure that by 2020, at least 90 percent of our human health active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) processes will meet internal sustainability targets at the time of product launch.

Our integrated strategy involves several stages, and aims to provide revolutionary solutions rather than incremental improvements to historical practices. We see science and innovation as critical enablers to developing sustainable, low-cost manufacturing processes that provide both environmental and economic benefits over the lifecycles of our products.

As part of our Green & Sustainable Science program, we calculate the Process Mass Intensity (PMI) of our human health products. PMI calculates the number of kilograms of raw materials (including water) used to produce one kilogram of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) or biologic. PMI indicates 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.

In June 2017, our company was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of five winners of the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Our scientists successfully applied green chemistry design principles to Letermovir, an antiviral drug candidate, that is currently in phase III clinical trials.

They made improvements to the way the drug is made, including the use of a better chemical catalyst, which increased the overall process yield by more than 60%, reduced raw material costs by 93%, and reduced water usage by 90%. Since the establishment of the annual Green Chemistry Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1996, we have been the only pharmaceutical company to be recognized with four 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. The Roundtable assists with developing tools like the solvent selection and reagent guides and the process mass intensity calculator, which drive the integration of sustainability into process design. Roundtable members also work together to support and advance academic research and education on new ways to apply green and sustainable science to pharmaceutical discovery and manufacture, which has resulted in several industry publications on more sustainable processes and technologies. More recently, the ACS GCI member companies have developed tools and guidelines for sustainable production practices relevant to bioprocessing.

For more information about our efforts to increase the use of recovered solvents and to prevent waste, click here.