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Block Engineering to Develop QCL System with Pfizer

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 21, 2013 — Block Engineering has partnered with Pfizer Inc. to develop a quantum cascade laser (QCL) based infrared spectroscopy system for noncontact cleaning verification of vessels during pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The technology leverages Block Engineering’s LaserScan analyzer to provide a handheld, battery-operated bar-code-scanner-like device that provides real-time, noncontact cleaning verification of vessels to avoid cross-contamination between products. Current methods to ensure that vessel walls meet strict FDA cleanliness standards involve swab-based techniques that require several hours to collect samples and send them to offline instruments such as high-pressure liquid chromatography systems.

“Cleaning verification is a critical step in the drug manufacturing process, and Pfizer is committed to the development of technologies that could decrease inspection times, reduce costs and improve supply assurance,” said Steve Hammond, head of the Process Analytical Sciences Group and senior director in the Global Manufacturing Services organization at Pfizer.

The novel approach is expected to reduce labor, material and consumables in addition to plant downtime.

“Block’s QCL-based infrared spectrometers are opening new markets, and cleaning verification is one of the most exciting and high-impact applications,” said Block Engineering CEO Petros Kotidis.

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