Continuous Manufacturing: Meeting the Demand for Drugs and API

Over the last few decades, the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing market has been using batch processes for production of pharmaceutical products, which is a multi-phase process. However, the surge in the demand for drugs due to COVID-19 has led the pharmaceutical industry to shift on to a more agile and flexible technique- continuous manufacturing, which is a single flow process allowing the industry to scale up quick, manufacture easily and shortens the drug supply chain. In fact, the USFDA has categorized continuous as one of today’s most important tools for modernizing the pharmaceutical industry.

Advantages of Continuous Manufacturing

Some of the key advantages are highlighted below:

  • Reduction in manufacturing cost (by 15-30%)
  • Reduction in manpower (by 50-70%)
  • Lower product deviation (by 50%)
  • Smaller footprint requirement (by 50-70%)
  • Reduction in power consumption (by 40%)
  • Faster scale up.

Moreover, the continuous processes use advanced sensors, and in-process analytics that enable the measurement of critical parameters and processing conditions in real-time.

Highlights on comparison of batch manufacturing Technique and Continuous Manufacturing Technique

S. No.CharacteristicsBatch manufacturing techniqueContinuous manufacturing technique
1Cost of productionRelatively a slower process; increases the cost of productionComparatively a faster process; reduces the cost of production
2Time efficiencyRequires shutting down of the whole equipment on a regular interval; makes the process, time consumingDoes not require shutting down the equipment; time-efficient process
3Energy requirementsHigh energy consumption while starting the equipmentLesser energy consumption being a continuous process
4Manpower requiredRequires multiple human operators for the production of each batch; the risk of human errors is significantly highRequires much less human attention; reduced human errors
5Continuous monitoringMonitoring of batch is only possible after the completion of processMonitoring is possible due to PAT and closed-loop automated process
6Batch / lot generationSpecific number of batches are generated at a timeBatches are generated as per the demand
7Floor-space requirementLarger floor-space requiredLesser floor-space required
8Batch-to-batch inconsistenciesHigh risk of batch-to-batch inconsistenciesLow risk of batch-to-batch inconsistencies

List of Companies Offering Continuous Processes for Pharmaceuticals

Currently, over 70 companies across the globe claim to offer continuous manufacturing services. Over 90% of the companies are engaged in offering services for API manufacturing, while only 53% of the companies offer the services related to final dosage form. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that 49% of the continuous manufacturing players are predominantly present in Europe.

List of Companies Offering Continuous Manufacturing

There has been a significant increase in the number of expansions in order to adopt continuous manufacturing since 2016. Majority of expansions were signed in the Europe (primarily in Germany and United Kingdom). Moreover, close to 50% instances were related to plant establishment followed by technology enhancement (30%).

Continuous manufacturing - recent expansions

Adoption of Continuous Processes

As per the interviews conducted with industry stakeholders, the industry is currently in the initial stages of adopting continuous manufacturing. However, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate the industry’s shift to these systems. In fact, a number of established big pharma players have already adopted these systems.

Initial stages of adoption of Continuous Manufacturing - Roots Analysis


Keeping every trend in mind, Roots Analysis has provided complete information on market trends in continuous manufacturing domain, which has some of the very recent and precise activities listed for the clients to help them make better decisions in its report titled, Continuous Manufacturing Market, 2nd Edition, 2022-2035. To find answers to key decision-making question and to know further about the market forecast analysis, highlighting the likely growth of the Continuous Manufacturing (Small Molecule and Biologics) Market, for the time period 2022-2035.

You can also download the SAMPLE REPORT on continuous manufacturing by Roots Analysis.

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