Life Sciences

Advancements in Small Molecule API Development: Sterling Pharma Solutions' Scientific Innovations and Sustainability Initiatives

By Chad Telgenhof, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Sterling Pharma Solutions

In the dynamic field of small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) development and manufacturing, Sterling Pharma Solutions has positioned itself as a significant player, recently acquiring NewChem Technologies, a UK-based organic chemistry contract services provider. Founded in 2002, as a spin-out from Newcastle University School of Chemistry, NewChem enhances Sterling’s capabilities in addressing complex early-phase process chemistry development challenges.

In 2023, it also acquired a facility in Ringaskiddy, Ireland from Novartis, further accelerating Sterling’s strategic growth program, which has seen the company triple its commercial manufacturing capacity over the last three years. At the core of Sterling’s operations lies its robust chemistry services, and this growth forms part of a corporate vision to position itself as an industry leader in API development and manufacturing from the early phases through to commercial scale.

Sterling is dedicated to the application of the latest technology and innovation, employing methodologies such as flow chemistry and biocatalysis, to enhance efficiency and address the ever-evolving manufacturing challenges in the pharmaceutical industry.

The company’s strategic focus also includes technologies that are adjacent to small molecule API development, such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which as a modality, is seeing significant growth within the industry with a number of recent FDA approvals. Sterling has grown capabilities within its global network of facilities to provide technologies capable of undertaking ADC development from linker design and synthesis, through to final GMP ADC conjugation.

One of Sterling’s distinctive strengths is its approach to fostering collaboration across its global network between chemists, analytical scientists, engineers and technicians, recognizing the symbiotic relationship between these disciplines. This collaborative approach, which draws on the specialist expertise of employees, combined to form a single, holistic team, with a wide-ranging, yet synergistic skill set, cultivates an environment conducive to breakthroughs in pharmaceutical development.

Sterling further differentiates itself within the pharma space through its leading, award-winning approach towards environmental responsibility. Having set clear goals and developed a corporate roadmap to achieve them, the company was awarded a gold medal by EcoVadis, in recognition of its sustainability management system, its policies, actions and results. This rating places Sterling in the top 1% of environmentally conscious pharmaceutical companies globally. Initiatives such as the commissioning of an anaerobic digestion plant to treat waste solvent, and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to generate its own electricity, at its manufacturing site in Cramlington, UK, demonstrate Sterling’s commitment to sustainability. The company is unrelenting when it comes to achieving its ultimate corporate goal of complete carbon neutrality, and is instigating programs across its global network of sites to achieve this.

The successful integration of the new facilities into the company’s existing infrastructure, emphasizes Sterling Pharma Solutions’ operational prowess. As the world transitions in this post-COVID era, Sterling adeptly navigates the complex landscape of supply chain security for its customers. Using a standardized set of procedures throughout its six sites, Sterling comprehensively addresses the intricacies of engagement, partner communication, transparency, integrity, and data security.