Will Indian pharma embrace batch to continuous processing?

Headquartered in Bangalore, STEERLife is a start-up incubated by its mother company STEER Group, involved in designing and creation of advanced technologies and processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing


(Photo Courtesy: www.wsj.com)

STEERLife, incubated since 2013 and rolled- out as an entity in April 2014, is run by MD & chief knowledge officer, Dr Babu Padmanabhan, and chairman Dr Himadri Sen (former research head at Ranbaxy), and has an ambitious goal of reaching the Unicorn status by 2020.

The start-up aims to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry by changing the way medicines are ‘made' and ‘taken', i.e., to transition from the conventional batch process manufacturing practice to continuous processing (B2C); and from swallowing-to-sipping medicines.

The traditional batch processing involves multiple steps including blending, wet granulation, drying, milling, compression and coating.

After each of these steps, the product (semi-batch) is collected, quality checked, and then is put through the next process of operation before ending up as a finished product, thereby making the whole process very cumbersome, inefficient, and time-consuming causing environmental hazards.

Currently, the pharmaceutical industry employees batch processing method, which is as old as Industrial Revolution, leading to producing products of inconsistent quality, paving way for pharma facilities and manufacturing plants being written-off or shutdown owing to defects, contaminations, or improper testing.


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