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We are committed to environmentally sound practices in our work to discover and develop innovative medicines to treat patients suffering from serious illnesses around the world. Amgen is improving sustainability in many aspects along the life cycle of our products including in research, development, manufacturing, packaging, and disposal.

Sustainable Research and Manufacturing

Amgen helped invent the processes and tools that created the global biotech industry. As we continue to grow and innovate, we are pioneering advanced technologies for research and development and manufacturing to increase operational efficiency, improve access to our medicines and reduce our environmental footprint across a range of drug modalities. 

Amgen has pioneered modular, flexible next-generation biomanufacturing technologies that are more environmentally friendly than conventional biomanufacturing. Compared with the manufacture of the same amount of product in a traditional facility, our next-generation biomanufacturing plant in Singapore has so far demonstrated reductions of approximately 268,000 gigajoules of energy, 8,800 metric tons of carbon and 82,000 cubic meters of water.

In the areas of medicinal chemistry research and synthetic drug development and manufacturing, Amgen has a well-established and distinguished track record for using green chemistry practices. In 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency honored Amgen with a 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Award for green chemistry practices, developed in partnership with Bachem, that we applied to the development and manufacture of the synthetic peptide drug Parsabiv™ (etelcalcetide).

In 2017, we assessed two platform approaches in our biologics portfolio to calculate process mass intensity—a measure of material and resource efficiency in drug substance manufacturing. These calculations are intended to serve as benchmarks against which to measure future process changes across our Process Development organization including changes in the environmental footprint of the manufacture of our medicines.

We are developing continuous-flow chemistry manufacturing processes for production of our synthetic molecules. This nimble approach, where material is made on an as-needed basis in small containers rather than large tank batches, will help to reduce the manufacturing footprint, conserve energy and reduce drug substance scrap amounts. This process also provides for precise temperature controls mitigating safety risks associated with high temperature operations. We are also pursuing a variation of this approach to produce biologic molecules to continue to innovate for process optimization, reducing environmental footprint and reducing costs of developing and manufacturing medicines.

Sharing Best Practices

Amgen participates in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) Pharmaceutical Roundtable to share and learn best practices for more sustainable research and development and manufacturing of medicines. Staff members participate in ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable sub-groups related both to synthetic molecule and biologic molecule processes.

Brian Sparling, an Amgen senior scientist who is chair of Amgen's Medicinal Green Chemistry group as well as the leader for the American Chemistry Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable Medicinal Chemistry sub-team, contributed to a 2017 paper with sub-team colleagues, "Sustainable Practices in Medicinal Chemistry Part 2: Green by Design" in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Amgen is also a sitting member on the IQ Green Chemistry working group, a collaborative team which focuses on driving innovation and awareness of green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry. Austin Smith, an Amgen scientist who is chair of Amgen's Process Development Green chemistry team, published a 2018 paper with IQ colleagues in Green Chemistry titled "Inspiring process innovation via an improved green manufacturing metric: iGAL."  The paper focuses on new green metrics to enable a more impactful quantitative analysis of process waste in pharma manufacturing. 

Brian and Austin presented a poster on "Greenness at Amgen" at the ACS Green Chemistry and Engineering conference in June of 2017, and Brian chaired a session at the conference on new, green chemical methodology. To promote more sustainable practices in our biologics research and development and manufacturing, Larry Sun, senior engineer, also participates on the ACS GC Pharmaceutical Roundtable's Biofocus Group.

Our scientists are engaging in efforts to bring green chemistry knowledge to educators and students. Amgen staff have given talks and presented posters in several educational settings including the Warner-Babcock Institute/Beyond Benign, the Northeastern University American Chemical Society undergraduate student chapter, Stanford University's Johnson Symposium and Boston College. Amgen scientists have served as panelists on IQ webinars highlighting the importance of green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry.

Recycling in Our Plants and Labs

We seek to reduce waste associated with research and manufacturing when possible. We have expanded capability for recycling waste associated with research and manufacturing, including the recycling of plastics, foam rubber and glass.

Product Packaging and Life Cycle

Sustainable Product Design

We have guidelines that include environmental sustainability criteria for the design and development of drug delivery systems that are part of our combination products.

Amgen recycles various waste streams associated with drug delivery systems our engineers test in the development of our combination products. We also shred and recycle associated packaging materials, such as inserts and secondary packaging.

Fill and Finish, Packaging, and Distribution

Amgen has made many improvements for sustainability in the work we do to prepare our medicines for delivery to patients. This includes the process of filling vials and other primary containers with drug substance, packaging medicines and shipping.

Amgen has moved from conventional open fill finish rooms to fill finish done with isolator and other technologies that are more environmentally friendly. Isolator technology for drug product manufacturing creates an airtight barrier around a process, eliminating the need for conventional clean rooms. This technology provides substantial energy savings, as much as 60 percent over a conventional clean room.

We follow a green packaging design rating system for product packaging and create more environmentally sustainable secondary packaging designs on a case by case basis. Nearly 100 percent of the paper used in all elements of Amgen's secondary packaging for clinical and commercial products is sourced from certified-sustainable forests. Re-configuring packaging has reduced the environmental footprint of some medicines. We reconfigured the packaging for Neulasta® (Pegfilgrastim) Onpro® Kit to use 32 percent less paperboard and 68 percent less plastic. In 2018, we developed flexible tray configurations that reduce the shipping footprint of additional medicines. 

Year by year we are expanding the use of reusable shippers for shipping our products. These shippers reduce a substantial amount of packaging material waste and reduce carbon emissions.

Our fill and finish facility In Ireland and our distribution center in Louisville, Kentucky, are both zero-waste-to-landfill facilities.

Product End of Life

Amgen considers ways to mitigate the environmental impact of our products at the end of use. Amgen provides an environmentally responsible mailback program for the appropriate disposal of medical waste associated with our combination products Enbrel® (etanercept), the Neulasta® Onpro® kit, and Repatha® (evolocumab). In 2017, patients who use these products returned approximately 60 metric tons of medical waste through this service. Material recovered via mailback (including sharps, autoinjectors, and containers) is autoclaved, shredded, and sent to a waste-to-energy facility for incineration with energy recovery.

Partnering with Suppliers to Promote Environmental Sustainability

Our suppliers are important to Amgen's mission to serve patients and they contribute to the sustainable lifecycle of our products.

Following are some examples where we have partnered with suppliers and industry to advance environmental sustainability in our company.

  • We collaborated with our manufacturing partner Bachem to develop a process that earned the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2017.

  • We worked over several years with our waste processing partner, Triumvirate Environmental, to develop a process whereby previously hard-to-recycle plastics used in manufacturing are sent to be recycled into park benches and pallets. We were one of the first companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

  • We collaborate with our colleagues at the American Chemistry Society Green Chemistry Institute Green Chemistry Roundtable, participating on a variety of sub teams, to share best practices that promote more efficient and environmentally friendly practices for the process development and manufacture of medicines across the industry.

  • Amgen contracts and operates more than 90 percent of meetings at hotels that have environmentally friendly practices. Amgen maintains green practices at all meetings when possible, discouraging the use of plastic water bottles and encouraging the use of electronic meeting materials.

 For more information, see the Supplier Sustainability section of Amgen.com.

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