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ICH: Final Q13 Guideline on Continuous Manufacturing

ICH: Final Q13 Guideline on Continuous Manufacturing

In Mid-November, the ICH Q13 Guideline on "Continuous Manufacturing of Drug Substances and Drug Products (Step 4)" was finally adopted during the General Assembly of the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH). With the adoption within the ICH organization, the guidelines are considered harmonized and thus represent the current state of science and technology. A concept paper for the Guideline was first submitted in November 2018.

The 46-pages guideline:

  • Builds on existing ICH Quality Guidelines
  • Provides clarification on continuous manufacturing (CM) concepts
  • Describes scientific approaches, and presents regulatory considerations specific to CM of drug substances and drug products
  • Focuses on the integrated aspects of a CM system in which two or more unit operations are directly connected
  • Includes scientific and regulatory considerations for the development, implementation, operation, and lifecycle management of CM.

The introductory Part I of the guideline addresses CM concepts, the scientific approach, and regulatory considerations, such as manufacturing processes, control strategies, batch sizes, product stability, process validation, or the pharmaceutical quality system. Included are sensible recommendations regarding regulatory expectations that provide manufacturers with a flexible approach.

Part II includes five annexes that offer concise explanations and practical examples. These include flowcharts with manufacturing processes and also various examples of how to handle process disturbances:

  • Annex 1: Considerations for CM of drug substances.
  • Annex 2: Considerations for CM of drug products
  • Annex 3: Considerations for CM of drug substances (therapeutic proteins)
  • Annex 4: Considerations for integrated drug substances and drug products CM
  • Annex 5: Perspectives of managing disturbances


ICH: ICH Q13 on Continuous Manufacturing