Media release

Separation technology used to speed up fight against COVID-19

April 22, 2020

Sulzer Chemtech is supporting Farmhispania Group to increase the production capacity of one of its drugs, which has proven its effectiveness in the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. This will help the pharmaceutical manufacturer to meet rising global healthcare demands for the medicament. The key technology that will help intensify the manufacturing process as quickly as possible is Sulzer’s agitated Kühni column (ECR) for liquid-liquid extraction.

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The urgency with which pharma businesses need to meet the rising demands of global healthcare production doesn’t provide sufficient time for them to significantly expand their operations by increasing their manufacturing footprint. For producers of antimalaria drugs, immunosuppressants and HIV medications, the pressure may be even higher, as these medicines are currently among the most promising treatments for the most critically ill coronavirus patients hospitalized in intensive care units.  

Pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer, Farmhispania, has found a way to address these challenges and produce more medicines suitable for coronavirus treatment. By working together with Sulzer, the leader in separation and mixing technology, the business will be able to ramp up its production capabilities in less than two weeks.

The two partners identified Sulzer’s ECR, a high-performance advanced extraction technology, as the most ideal solution. The separation system is particularly suitable for this project, as it can effectively handle a high flow rate, maximizing throughput. 

To ensure a prompt delivery to the pharmaceutical manufacturer Sulzer was able to utilize its available stock to build an ECR and ship it over the weekend, the day after the contract was awarded. Furthermore, Sulzer is supporting the equipment installation and start-up, getting production ramped up as quickly as possible.

Dr. Jordi Cervelló Pagès, Industrial Director at Farmhispania Group, comments: “The exceptional circumstances presented by the threat of COVID-19 require pharmaceutical manufacturers to work with great urgency in the interest of the public good. In our case, this means delivering high volumes of one of our drugs as quickly as possible to support the recovery of coronavirus patients in critical conditions in multiple intensive care units. Sulzer’s role is crucial, as its technology and comprehensive service will enable us to significantly expand our operations in a very short time.”

Torsten Wintergerste, Division President for Sulzer Chemtech, concludes: “We couldn’t be prouder to help Farmhispania and personally, I am extremely grateful to our Sulzer staff that quickly mobilized to deliver the ECR within days. As soon as our teams realized that the project would support the fight against coronavirus, they immediately showed their commitment to go the extra mile, even if this meant working during the weekend. Sulzer has the capabilities to support pharmaceutical businesses in these challenging times, so we invite businesses interested in similar situations to get in touch with us to discuss how we can help them.


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Dorota Zoldosova

Head Marketing & Communications Chemtech

Phone: +41 52 262 37 22


Sulzer Management Ltd