Better Pharmaceutical Manufacturing via Continuous Processing | MIT Technology Review

Better chemistry: To produce drugs in a continuous-manufacturing method, MIT engineers had to develop several new pieces of equipment, including this reactor, which enabled a faster reaction and eliminated the need for a toxic solvent.

This is a big breakthrough, this is part of the maker revolution though a long way from maker bot.  In the long run such a system can be miniaturized and stocked with a range of precursors which will allow a single system to produce any number of different drugs on demand. In the early days such systems will be huge and hugely expensive but will make drug exploration exponentially quicker and less expensive. In the long-term the system makes the whole pharmaceutical infrastructure we have today obsolete…except that it will probably increase the need for scientists, physicians specializing in individualized medicine, etc, etc. Old jobs go away new ones come on-line. And the new ones will generally be much more about the outer edges of technology and the connection between people and between people and their machines, instead of embedding people as cogs in the machines.

The article is pretty high level but a good quick read on the topic.

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