By Lars Keinicke Hansen, Business Line Manager for Pharma Inspection and Packaging & Assembly; Chiara Mussoi, Product Manager for the Cartridge Platform; and Odra Pinato, PhD, Head of SG Lab Analytics Laboratory
In this article, Lars Keinicke Hansen, Business Line Manager for Pharma Inspection and Packaging & Assembly; Chiara Mussoi, Product Manager for the Cartridge Platform; and Odra Pinato, PhD, Head of SG Lab Analytics Laboratory; all of Stevanato Group, describe how the streamlining of processes and harmonisation of products and services can better serve pharmaceutical companies. A case study highlights how a unique combination of expertise in automation and glass primary packaging benefited pharmaceutical giant Merck Serono in a recent project.
Combination products are being launched for an increasing range of therapies, including low-volume orphan drugs, high-volume pharmaceuticals and highly competitive biologics and biosimilars. However, very few pharma companies are equipped to handle these complex drug-device integration projects alone.
In a traditional supply model, a pharma company would source primary packaging from one vendor and the drug delivery device from another. Performance of these two separate constituents would be analysed and characterised by external laboratories. Automation specialists would fabricate assembly and testing equipment and yet another company would perform commercial production. This effort required a tremendous amount of co-ordination between the pharma company and various suppliers.
Organising information and materials, and sequencing the movement of both, can be an imposing task. The risks are high, as a single wrong step along the way could cripple a project. Delays to a drug launch can impact the lives of millions of patients around the world, as well as creating devastating financial consequences for the pharma company itself.
To minimise the risks and ease the burden on the pharma company, some suppliers have been expanding their offering by integrating one or more products or services to better serve pharma partners directly. The relationship between pharma companies and these suppliers has evolved into a collaborative partnership, with a joint desire and responsibility for project success.