The Process Mass Intensity Calculator (PMI) is used to decrease the amount of material used to make a drug, which is one of the major green chemistry challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. The PMI tool was developed by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable to provide a common way to measure the amount of materials used to create a given amount of chemical products. PMI is calculated by dividing the total quantity of raw materials (kg) that go into synthesizing a product, including water, by the quantity of bulk active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) produced (kg).
The original tool was released to the public in 2011, but the Roundtable has released an updated tool in 2014 that allows for convergent processes to be calculated. The Convergent Process Mass Intensity Calculator’s goals are to improve the effectiveness of a chemical synthesis with multiple steps while still maintaining the current calculator's design and methodology. The point of the change was to increase the simplicity of the tool as well as include a list of instructions for users.
PMI was developed by the Pharmaceutical Roundtable because it allows companies to track the footprint of their manufacturing process, benchmark, and quantify improvements to the efficiency and sustainability of their production. The Roundtable’s original benchmark using the PMI tool showed that across companies solvents were 58% of the inputs; water was 28%, while reactants were 8%. Roundtable member companies tracked various processes across their portfolio and calculated PMI, in order to compare to other firms.
Where is this going?
The Roundtable is encouraging suppliers of raw commodity materials to use the PMI tool so that a calculation can be made covering all stages of development. In addition, the Roundtable has further developed the tool to include life cycle considerations. This PMI-LCA tool will be used to create a more comprehensive benchmark of the drug manufacturing footprint that would include environmental and health considerations. This tool will feature pre-loaded LCA data on solvents and allow for an assessment of trade-offs in manufacturing.
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