Georgia Tech is working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop new ways to producing antibiotics to bring down the cost.
The FDA has given the school a $2 million-dollar grant to come up with new manufacturing technologies and methods of making certain antibiotics. Georgia Tech was one of three research institutions chosen by the FDA to explore how to translate manufacturing techniques already in use in food and chemical production to making certain antibiotics that now are often imported into the United States. The Georgia Tech team will focus on the early stages of drug synthesis, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rutgers University will address later stages of the manufacturing process.
Georgia Tech professor, Martha Grover says they've created a way to make the drugs continuously. "We definitely think this is a really viable new approach going forward," says Grover.
She says this new continuous method would improve quality and avoid shortages. Currently antibiotics are made in large batches. She says, " you can think of it kind of like cooking at home, you make a big pot of the antibiotic and every time the batch is going to be a little bit different and sometimes you make a big batch and it doesn't meet the specifications so you really can't use it. "
She thinks it will be appealing to the pharmaceutical industry too. With continuous manufacturing, costs associated with starting up and shutting down production are reduced due to the continuous nature of the manufacturing approach. Other potential advantages include faster ramp-up production during times of shortages and more consistent product quality.