The international technology group SCHOTT plans to significantly expand its production capacity of ready-to-use (RTU) cartridges.
This drug containment and delivery solution is used to store and administer drugs with the help of pen injectors or wearable devices. SCHOTT can deliver these cartridges washed, siliconized, crimped, and pre-sterilized in a nest/tub or tray configuration. This allows pharma companies to start the drug filling process immediately without having to take care of washing, siliconization, or sterilization themselves.
With this expansion, the company is providing a solution for drugs that are predominantly self-administered at home, which experts recognize as a growing market trend. “This investment is yet another step in adding manufacturing capacity for a product that simplifies self-medication and puts the patient’s needs first,” said Andreas Reisse, Executive Vice President of SCHOTT’s Pharma business unit. “Together with our partners, we are creating completely new possibilities in this area with the aim to improve global health for everyone.”
The expansion at the company’s site in St. Gallen, Switzerland is designed to include state-of-the-art clean-room infrastructure, including washing line equipment supplied by machine vendor groninger, and is scheduled for completion in 2023.
Breakthroughs in the pharma industry have allowed patients to increasingly administer drugs themselves through the help of a wearable device, pen or auto-injector. These typically rely on a cartridge to store the drug. “At SCHOTT, we follow high standard processes to ensure that our ready-to-use cartridges protect the medication and work seamlessly with the respective device,” said Dr. Felix Brosi, Global Product Manager Cartridges at SCHOTT’s Pharma unit.
The cartridges were specifically developed as containment and delivery solution for insulin, growth hormones, or other sensitive biologics and are available for a large range of filling volumes. The 10mL cartridge, for example, is suitable for self-injection of large volumes and is featured in the YpsoDose patch injector platform from Ypsomed.
As part of the SCHOTT iQ® platform, the RTU cartridges are designed to make the drug filling process as simple as possible for pharma companies. Compared to conventional cartridges, the RTU solution requires fewer process steps during filling and allows for more flexibility when changing over to other drug containment and delivery solutions such as RTU vials or pre-fillable syringes.
A new era of manufacturing
The capacity expansion is designed to break ground for a new era of manufacturing with a glass-to-glass contact-free process. This aims at eliminating possible scratches or other glass defects and contributes to a safe delivery of medications to patients. In addition, the new in-house steam sterilization will feature an ultra-clean sterilization technology, thereby paving the way for a more sustainable manufacturing process.
“With these new technologies, we are reaching yet another milestone in our advanced production journey,” said Michael Feldhaus, Head of Technology of SCHOTT’s Pharma unit.
The production technology also includes an online crimp inspection system, ensuring container closure integrity (CCI). This in return means that the cartridge system is effectively protecting the medication’s sterility and subsequently drug stability.
SCHOTT has recently announced a number of expansion plans in its RTU business, including a new production facility for pre-fillable glass syringes in Hungary.