Pharmaceutical manufacturing

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is the process of industrial-scale synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs as part of the pharmaceutical industry. The process of drug manufacturing can be broken down into a series of unit operations, such as milling, granulation, coating, tablet pressing, and others.

While a laboratory may use dry ice as a cooling agent for reaction selectivity, this process gets complicated on an industrial scale. The cost to cool a typical reactor to this temperature is large, and the viscosity of the reagents typically also increases as the temperature lowers, leading to difficult mixing. This results in added costs to stir harder and replace parts more often, or it results in a non-homogeneous reaction. Finally, lower temperatures can result in crusting of reagents, intermediates, and byproducts to the reaction vessel over time, which will impact the purity of the product.

Different stoichiometric ratios of reagents can result in different ratios of products formed. On the industrial scale, adding a large amount of reagent A to reagent B may take time. During this, the reagent A that is added is exposed to a much higher stoichiometric amount of reagent B until it is all added, and this imbalance can lead to reagent A prematurely reacting, and subsequent products to also react with the huge excess of reagent B.

Solvent extractions
Whether to add organic solvent into aqueous solvent, or vice versa, becomes important on the industrial scale. Depending on the solvents used, emulsions can form, and the time needed for the layers to separate can be extended if the mixing between solvents is not optimal. When adding organic solvent to aqueous, stoichiometry must be considered again, as the excess of water could hydrolyze organic compounds in only mildly acidic or basic conditions. In an even wider scope, the location of the chemical plant can play a role in the ambient temperature of the reaction vessel. A difference of even a couple of degrees can yield much different levels of extractions between plants located across countries.

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