On 8 March, 2012, the Colorado State University Student Chapter traveled down from Fort Collins to Boulder, Colorado to tour Agilent Technologies pharmaceutical production facility. We were greeted with an overview of the pharmaceutical market, emerging trends, and why Boulder, Colorado is a prime location for this type of work.
We then toured the facilities. We began in the laboratory, observing employees using equipment we became familiar with from organic chemistry classes. We were able to see the latest in HPLC, NMR, and other analytical equipment produced by Agilent. We were shown how the API was manufactured at the gram scale before it could be scaled up to kilogram scale. The next part of our tour was in the clean rooms where the API is manufactured. We were able to learn the gowning procedure and how GMP affects the manufacturing of each step for an API. We observed scaled up versions of what we had seen in the laboratory. This included larger column sizes, and Rotovap vessels with volumes in liters. Finally we were able to see tanks hundreds of liters in size that were used for larger scale productions. We concluded our tour in the water room which provides pure water used throughout the manufacturing process.
As engineers, it was beneficial to see the material we had been studying in classes being applied in industry. The first half of our tour had focused on analytical scientific concepts and the latter on the implementation of engineering skills.
The CSU Student Chapter greatly enjoyed this experience and appreciates the time that the employees of Agilent Technologies in Boulder took to accommodate us.