Block Engineering Announces Collaborative Agreement with Pfizer for Next
Generation Cleaning Verification Technology
MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 18, 2013
MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Block Engineering, the
leader in Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) spectroscopy, announced today that it
has signed a Collaborative Agreement with Pfizer, Inc. to develop a QCL-based
system for real-time, noncontact Cleaning Verification of vessels during
pharmaceutical manufacturing. The technology is based on Block's commercially
available LaserScan (TM) Analyzer, which will be tailored to address the
specific requirements of this application.
Accurate Cleaning Verification of vessels has a significant impact in
pharmaceutical manufacturing, due to the potential health risks of
cross-contamination between products. Today, in order to ensure that the walls
of these vessels meet tough FDA cleanliness standards, swab-based techniques
are applied to collect samples and bring them to off-line instruments, such as
High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) systems. These measurements
typically take several hours or more per vessel during which the vessel
usually remains idle. The key value proposition of the proposed technology is
to eliminate this bottleneck and provide a handheld, battery-operated,
barcode-scanner-like device capable of providing real-time, noncontact
verification of the cleanliness of the vessel walls. Using the proposed
technology, pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment could be scanned in a
matter of minutes and potential areas that require additional cleaning will be
identified in real-time without the need to take any samples. Block's device
requires no consumables and utilizes next generation, eye-safe QCL-based
"Cleaning Verification is a critical step in the drug manufacturing process
and Pfizer is committed to the development of technologies that could decrease
inspection times, reduce costs and improve supply assurance," said Steve
Hammond, Head of the Process Analytical Sciences Group (PASG) and Senior
Director in the Global Manufacturing Services organization at Pfizer. "Block's
groundbreaking technology fits well within Pfizer's Process Analytical
Technology (PAT) initiatives and I look forward to working with them towards
the development of this instrument."
The expected benefits of this novel approach include a reduction in the labor,
material and consumables required today for swab-based verification.
Furthermore, significant plant utilization increases can be achieved and drug
supply assurances can be confidently offered. Key initiatives in the
pharmaceutical industry today for Work-in-Progress inventory reduction and
just-in-time-inventory implementation will significantly benefit from the
proposed technology, as the manufacturing equipment idle time is reduced.
Petros Kotidis, CEO of Block Engineering commented, "I am very pleased to
announce the strategic agreement with Pfizer towards the development of this
breakthrough instrumentation. Block's QCL-based infrared spectrometers are
opening new markets and Cleaning Verification is one of the most exciting and
high impact applications. Pfizer's dominant and pioneering position in the
introduction of next generation process analytical technologies will be a
critical element in the success of this product."
The fundamental principle behind Block's technology and the currently
commercially available LaserScan Analyzer is QCL-based infrared spectroscopy.
When infrared light from the QCL reflects off of substances, it gets absorbed
or reflected at rates that are absolutely unique to and characteristic of the
substance. Therefore, when the reflected light is collected by the LaserScan's
built-in detectors, a "fingerprint"-like pattern emerges, which contains all
the necessary information for detection or analysis of the substance. Built-in
libraries are typically used to pattern and provide real-time detection or
analysis. Block's devices use unique QCLs, which cover the widest spectral
range in the world within the 5-14 micron range and provide rapid sub-second,
real-time measurements in handheld configurations.
About Block Engineering, LLC:
Founded in 1956, Block Engineering, LLC is a leading manufacturer and marketer
of high performance Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) and FTIR spectrometers for
commercial, industrial, military and government customers. Block's Mobile
Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) system is a fixed site, passive FTIR
spectrometer offered in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corp. Block's
PORTHOS (TM) is a portable, passive FTIR spectrometer system that remotely
detects chemical threats as far as three miles and protects against chemical
warfare agents and weapons of mass destruction. Block Engineering is also
manufacturing and selling a line of unique QCL-based spectrometers, including
the LaserScan Analyzer, for applications ranging from detection of explosives
and liquid/solid chemical warfare agents to control of manufacturing
operations and verification of surface conditions in a variety of industrial
Block Engineering is located in Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA. For more
information, visit www.blockeng.com.
Contact: Scott Riggi, Vice President of Sales, 508-251-3105,
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SOURCE Block Engineering
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