New project could reshore essential medicine production, say participants


DMTC and Boron Molecular have announced a project that they say could lead to onshore manufacturing of “many, if not most” of the drugs on the World Health Organization’s essential medicines list, rapidly and at scale.

The flow chemistry being tested was developed at CSIRO, a pioneer in that field and a supporter on the project.

According to a statement, the platform method is often safer and more precise than regular batch manufacture. It uses “a precise balance of thermal and ingredient input controls that enable a chemical reaction to occur continuously.”

It is able to synthesise drugs including:

  • Lidocaine, a local anaesthetic;
  • Praziquantel, a critical treatment for parasitic worms;
  • Rifampicin, for treating leprosy; and
  • Linezolid, an essential treatment for the superbug methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Any medications developed through the system would still need regulatory approval.

“Australia doesn’t have the capacity to produce these domestically at short notice,” said Boron Molecular’s Director of Business Development, Dr Oliver Hutt.

“That means we are subject to supply and cost issues on the other side of the world. This approach, if successful, means we can create the materials right here – making our medical system more flexible, more controllable and more resilient.”


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