Medical Innovation Exchange

The future of technology in pharmaceutical manufacturing

In this interview, Charles Chase, PhD, the VP and Technical Business Development at Asymchem, a technology-focused pharmaceutical manufacturing company, discusses the significant impact of RNA vaccines, highlighting their potential for therapeutic applications, particularly in the field of cancer treatment. He emphasizes the importance of generating strong T-cell responses in the context of cancer immunotherapy.

Regarding manufacturing issues in the pharmaceutical industry over the next five years, Dr. Chase underscores the need for diversified manufacturing locations to ensure resilience in the face of natural or man-made disasters. Asymchem serves as an example with its multiple sites and diverse capabilities. The approach not only enhances reliability but also promotes green chemistry, reducing waste and improving cost-effectiveness.

Asymchem’s investment in emerging technologies, such as bio-transformations and flow chemistry, offer cost efficiencies, reproducibility, and more environmentally friendly processes.

Listen to the full interview or read the transcript to learn more.

Rebecca Willumson: Hi there. I’m Rebecca Willumson and I’m the publisher of Fierce Biotech and I’m here today with Charles Chase, PhD, VP and Technical business Development at Asymchem. Charles, thanks so much for joining me today.

Charles Chase: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

Rebecca Willumson: So before we begin, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Asymchem?

Charles Chase: Sure. Name’s Charles Chase. I go by Chuck. I’ve approximately got 20, 25 years working in CMC in the pharmaceutical industry. I spent much of that time working for Eisai where I was the CMC leader of the HALLIMAN Project. That’s easily probably the most complex total synthesis based project that’s been approved by the FDA. That’s not a macro molecule. And then I left Eisai, and I started and followed a dream, and I was with a small Cambridge biotech for about five years a now I’m with Asymchem, and Asymchem is certainly a manufacturing leader in the world. Again, a very large company. But we do everything. And I would say that Asymchem is really a technology company. It’s just not a scale up manufacturing company. But we’ve done significant investment of our resources back into the technology. We see that in flow chemistry. You see that in bio catalysis. It’s actually an exciting place to be.

Rebecca Willumson: So to kick us off, tell me what emerging technology or scientific advancements do you believe will have the most significant impact on the biotech industry in the years to come?

Charles Chase: These post covid days, the RNA vaccines are clearly something that everybody needs to keep their eye on. It is exciting to see what happened for infectious disease and I’m really very excited to see what can happen for say, therapeutic cancer. Now whether the RNA-based vaccines are going to generate the significant T-cell response, I don’t know. I’m not really a particularly expert in that, but I know there’s a number of other vaccine based technologies that do generate very strong t-cell responses. So I think this whole direction of training the body’s immune system to attack cancer, I wish everybody the greatest success.

Rebecca Willumson: What do you anticipate will be the most significant manufacturing issues facing the pharmaceutical industry in the next five years?

Charles Chase: Well, outside of continuity issues, I think we need to have a distribution of our pharmaceutical manufacturing. Asymchem is a primary example of that. Asymchem has four distinct sites, very large sites, and none of those sites have quite the same capabilities. There’s overlap in each and every one of them. So if there’s, say a natural disaster or some other issue or some manmade disaster, you can rely on another side to pick that up. If everything is centralized in single location, when that goes down, that presents a problem, obviously. So I think that’s one aspect. Asymchem as well has done a really, I think I indicated, have really put in a lot of effort into things like bio transformations. They went all in on this years ago and flow chemistry, those are significant programs and we do metric tons of this processing. And there’s advantages, not just lower cost, greater reproducibility, but green chemistry. We reduce waste stream. So I think there’s a lot of promise to that and we continue to do it.

Rebecca Willumson: Well, that’s all the questions that I have. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Charles Chase: Thank you for having me.

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