Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have entered a multi-year collaboration to develop next-generation equipment designs.

This builds upon Pfizer’s existing portable, continuous, miniature and modular (PCMM) prototype for oral solid dose (OSD) pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

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The existing PCMM prototype of Pfizer is an autonomous and transportable pod designed to create a fully functional module that is compliant with industry-standard good manufacturing practice (GMP) guidelines.

The PCMM prototype may be quickly shipped from location to location and readily bought online.

"This strategic collaboration allows Pfizer and GSK to align on a vision for PCMM-OSD equipment designs."

Under the deal, both firms will jointly conduct coordinated experiments to create the next-generation design of Pfizer’s current PCMM prototype.

The deal expands on Pfizer’s existing collaboration with GEA and G-CON Manufacturing, which resulted in the design of the current prototype unit presently implemented at the company’s labs in Groton.

Pfizer PharmaTherapeutics research and development senior vice-president Rod MacKenzie said: "Pfizer’s success in building a first-of-a-kind, transportable, modular prototype for oral solid dose pharmaceutical development and manufacturing holds promise to help transform industry practices, and we invite other organisations to join us in this effort.

"We believe coupling Pfizer’s industry-leading development and manufacturing capabilities with GSK’s experience and expertise in continuous processing has the potential to lead to a superior technology, thereby allowing us to more quickly and efficiently bring therapies to patients."

The PCMM technology is a manufacturing system that accelerates the speed of tablet production and also has the potential to transform the current biopharmaceutical industry standard of using batch processing to manufacture tablets and capsules from powders.

GSK Advanced Manufacturing Technologies head and vice-president Mark Buswell said: "GSK is pursuing a strategy to enhance our manufacturing supply chains and drive access to medicines for patients. Continuous manufacturing is a key part of that strategy.

"This strategic collaboration allows Pfizer and GSK to align on a vision for PCMM-OSD equipment designs and enables us to deploy flexible, agile and reliable manufacturing solutions to benefit patients."

The company said that the PCMM continuous process takes only minutes from the addition of raw materials to the completion of finished tablets or capsules.

Compared to a conventional production facility, a PCMM facility has a 60%-70% smaller footprint.

The PCMM allows use of the same equipment for development, clinical trials and commercial manufacturing.