Contract Pharma spoke with Dr. Frank Heinricht, chairman of the management board of SCHOTT AG about the recently announced investment, growth markets, and how pharma/biopharma needs are changing. –KB
Contract Pharma: What are the main drivers behind the recently announced investment in SCHOTT's pharmaceutical packaging business?
Frank Heinricht: The pharmaceuticals market is growing with more and more high-value drugs entering the market. In return, these drugs require high-quality primary packaging to ensure drug stability, ease of administration, simple processing on filling lines and fast time to market among others. Subsequently, we are witnessing a growing global demand for pharmaceutical packaging, such as vials, syringes, ampoules and cartridges, made out of borosilicate glass and polymer. We are therefore investing $1 billion around the world to increase global access to safe medications, while supporting the marketing of new pharmaceutical products.
CP: What will the $1 billion investment encompass?
FH: The global investment covers the entire value chain from our activities in the pharmaceutical glass tubing business to primary packaging business to adjacent services. It includes new production sites in Germany and China, as well as expanding through new lines and manufacturing technology. More precisely, we are:
• building a new glass tubing production facility in China and investing in additional tanks and infrastructure in India,
• building a new production facility for SCHOTT TOPPAC® ready-to-use polymer syringes and customized container solutions at our site in Müllheim, Germany, and increasing syringe capacity in St. Gallen, Switzerland,
• ramping-up production for EVERIC™ – our new high-value vial product line – and investing in our iQ™ platform of ready-to-use vials at our site in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, as well as doubling the capacity of lines for coated vials in Germany,
• building a production facility for syringes and a new production module for vials in India,
• and recently entered into a strategic partnership with SmartSkin Technologies.
CP: How are pharma/biopharma needs changing?
FH: Biologic drugs offer hope for a number of hard-to-treat diseases, such as cancer or chronic diseases. Yet these drugs tend to have more complex molecule structures than blockbuster drugs and are highly viscous. Moreover, they target smaller patient groups and are subsequently manufactured in small batches. This means that biologics require innovative packaging that ensures drug stability throughout shelf life and eases the administration process for the patient group and their specific needs. Specifically for biologics, we offer syriQ BioPure® glass prefillable syringes, EVERIC™ vials and polymer solutions. Moreover, ready-to-use (RTU) solutions, such as our iQ™ platform allow for more flexible manufacturing, which is required when filling small batches of biologics.
For pharma manufacturers, on the other hand, the focus is on bringing the drug to market in a fast way, which is why close collaboration from an early stage onwards is crucial. To enable a fast time to market for our customers with both our glass and polymer solutions, we provide existing Drug Master Files (DMF) for polymer and different rubber formulations as well as glass syringe solutions – namely syriQ® – that are “DHF ready” according to the latest design controlled guidelines (acc. to FDA 21CFR Part 820).
CP: In what markets do you see the most growth/demand for pharmaceutical packaging?
FH: We are witnessing a growing demand for high quality packaging across the entire globe. When looking particularly at growing markets, we see that two-thirds of the drugs in the development pipeline are biologics. On the container side, we also see a high demand for polymer packaging. In regards to the latter, we offer RTU syringes known as SCHOTT TOPPAC® and customer container variations made out of an advanced cyclic olefin copolymer (COC). The material provides a suitable alternative to glass containers for specific formulations.
Click here to view a slideshow of some of the SCHOTT products mentioned.
Frank Heinricht took office as Chairman of the Management Board in June 2013. He is responsible for the Business Units Pharmaceutical Packaging and Tubing as well as for the Corporate Functions Research & Development, Compliance/Legal, Human Resources, Marketing and Communication and Strategic Development. In addition to his position at SCHOTT AG, he is also a vice chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, President of the Federal Association of the German Glass Industry (BV Glas) and Member of the Presidential Board of The Federation of German Industries (BDI).