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Sherpa opens new packaging plant in CA

By Natalie Morrison , 20-Jul-2011

Sherpa has cut the ribbon on a new cGMP biotech clinical trial material packaging facility in San Diego.

Positioned adjacent to the Althea Technologies campus – who signed a long-term co-marketing agreement with the clinical packaging management company in March – the cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) plant is in prime location for the new relationship.

In the agreement, Althea’s sales and marketing team sells Sherpa’s labeling, packaging, storage, and distribution services exclusively.

The new facility includes five controlled access and monitored packaging suites, and walk-in 2-8 degrees C and -20 degrees C storage areas.

Sherpa President Mark Paiz told in-PharmaTechnologist that the new plant will provide a host of benefits to their joint client base with Althea.

“Althea performs fill and finish of parenteral clinical study drugs for current (and future) clients that would typically have to send them to a contract packager located in the eastern US.

“The benefits of this arrangement is that it allows Althea to offer a more complete service to their clients, making them more competitive; it brings new business to Sherpa; it allows clients to reduce cold chain risk (no cross country shipment to a packager because we are located adjacent to Althea) and saves time.”

Sherpa's new facility in San Diego

New horizons

The unit also holds potential for outsourcing from other West Coast companies, as well as in supporting clinical studies globally, according to Paiz.

When asked if the new facility was built partly as a result of demand from existing clients, he added: “The facility was built because of the existing need to offer supplementary packaging services for CMO [contract manufacturing organisation], particularly Althea, manufactured clinical study drugs on the West Coast.

“The existing client base at Althea now has an option to have all of the contract manufacturing completed in one location.

“Other companies on the West Coast also now have that alternative, which is attractive for a number of reasons including ease of oversight, reduced cold chain risk, and speed.

“We are in discussion with numerous potential clients, in various stages of discussion, proposal preparation and final selection. We cannot discuss who these clients are for proprietary reasons.”

And of distribution elsewhere, Paiz said: “Sherpa will provide services for clients located globally and support global clinical studies.”

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