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Schott takes ready-to-fill syringe production back to the US

By Wai Lang Chu, 23-Jun-2010

Related topics: Delivery technologies, Packaging machinery & supplies, Drug Delivery

Schott Pharmaceutical Packaging has revealed details of its US-based ready-to-fill syringe production line capabilities in a manufacturing sector that has traditionally been the strong hold of countries like Germany and France.

News of the site’s additional production capability validates its $14m capital investments, which also created more than 40 new jobs and shifts a $300m industry to a North American base.

The firm previously stated it would produce up to 270,000 ready-to-fill syringes a day when fully operational and planned to add a further $30m in investment to boost manufacturing capacity at the site.

The production line incorporates technologies such as dimensional camera inspection and clean room final packaging and the investment comes on the back of its prediction that North American demand for ready-to-fill manufacturing would increase eight to 10 per cent a year.

This is likely to be driven by growth in key therapeutic markets for diseases like diabetes and cancer. With hygiene and accuracy cited as the main reasons the popular view now is that many new products that can be injected should be prefilled.

With therapeutics for these conditions packed into pre-filled syringes now, patients using medication such as vaccines, erythroproteins and interferons can benefit from a pre-determined dose, manufactured to cGMP and other regulatory standards.

Scohtt becomes only the second company to produce high quality ready-to-fill syringes in the US. With its additional portfolio of vials, ampoules and cartridges, Schott’s full range of pharmaceutical packaging products is now produced in North America.

“We have completed operational qualification of the syringe wash line,” said Renard Jackson, Vice President of Schott North America, and General Manager of its Pharmaceutical Packaging Division.

“We are now prepared to assist additional customers with their commercial production requirements for ready-to-fill syringes.”

Schott’s move to upgrade its Lebanon, Pennsylvania facility is unlikely to worry the key players in the ready-to-fill market. The world market is currently dominated at a European level making market penetration from other continents difficult. Additionally, location and customer inactivity through time has built up brand loyalty.

According to Frost and Sullivan, the European ready-to-fill market is currently dominated by Becton-Dickinson Pharmaceuticals. Coming second at quite some distance is Buender Glas (a subsidiary of Gerresheimer). Germany’s MGlas comes in at third.

Frost and Sullivan attribute their success due to regional bias and locational advantages. Their close proximity to European big pharma has allowed them to form close relationships with many of the top Pharmaceuticals companies such as GSK in Belgium and Sanofi-Aventis in France.