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16 Feb 2021

Phlow secures $20 million to advance manufacturing initiatives in the US

The company seeks to actively accelerate US manufacturing for medicines at risk of shortage, including those for COVID-19 pandemic response

Pharma start-up Phlow Corporation has announced it has secured $20 million in a recent round of financing and said it will use the money to establish a commercial team, build data and analytics platforms, press on with commercial R&D of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished products, as well as funding other plans to deliver essential medicines.

Phlow, which was established to address the US supply chain's heavy dependence upon foreign suppliers, is using advanced manufacturing processes leveraging flow chemistry to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished pharmaceutical products, including those for COVID-19 pandemic response.

In May 2020, Phlow bagged a contract to manufacture generics and APIs in shortage, funded by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The total contract value awarded to Phlow could reach $812 million; an initial four-year base award of $354 million with an additional $458 million bundled in as potential options for long-term sustainability. Under the terms of the agreement, Phlow is leading a team of private sector entities that includes API and intermediates manufacturer Ampac Fine ChemicalsCivica Rx and the Medicines for All Institute.

In its first contract year, Phlow said it has delivered millions of doses of essential medicines as part of a US-based, surge capacity ramp-up supporting critical COVID-19 response efforts while boosting the US's national supply chain security.

In addition, the company has developed and is operationalizing the US's first Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Reserve (SAPIR). This long-term, national stockpile of key ingredients will be used to manufacture the most essential medicines on US soil and further reduce America's dependency on foreign nations to support its drug supply chain.

On its website, Virginia-based Phlow markets itself as a solution to a “broken” US pharmaceutical supply chain “dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers.” It says traditional batch manufacturing, which it describes as a multi-step, lengthy process that involves the use of large-scale, labour-intensive equipment, has led to API production being mainly centred in China and India, where labour costs are low.

The company says all its pharmaceutical products will be manufactured in the US by continuous manufacturing, which it describes as a modern process “that maximizes throughput, increases productivity, and lowers labour requirements.”

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