Reducing cycle time and cutting raw material costs


The Challenge

With the major trend of globalization continuing unabated, price pressures are continuously mounting on chemical manufacturer’s in both the United States and Europe. PCI strives to manage the product life cycle of all of its commercial API’s and advanced intermediates to reduce costs consistently over time. The goal is to use process improvements and innovative sourcing strategies to reduce overall cost to the end customer but protect our manufacturing margin. All savings can then be passed on to the customer. In one example in order to remain price-competitive, PCI had a need for a more efficient process for the synthesis of a Glutamic acid derivative. The material is the key advanced intermediate for an anti-cancer drug and is produced annually at the multi ton level. The current manufacturing route was inefficient thus requiring higher raw material costs, longer cycle time and higher waste disposal costs. Our goal was to:

  • Reduce the overall synthesis time by using our global network to outsource earlier steps.
  • Reduce the cost of raw materials by eliminating multiple solvents
  • Minimize waste disposal costs
  • Continue to ensure the production of high quality product.

After several months of extensive process development, we were able to reduce the cycle time from 15 days per batch to 5 days per batch, improve the overall yield from 50 % to 70 %, and reduce the number of solvents used in the process from five to two. This resulted in increased throughput and cost savings of almost 30% which we able to pass on completely to our customer.