Pharmaceutical Processing recently asked Les Edwards,
Vice President of Technology and Business Development at
SKAN US, a series of questions about some of SKAN’s latest
technologies, and where he sees the company and the
pharmaceutical market headed over the next few years.
Q:Please give us a brief history of the company, the types of products and services offered, along
with the customer objectives.
Les Edwards: SKAN AG is celebrating our 50th
anniversary in 2018 and we are excited to continue to
lead the industry in isolator systems, hydrogen peroxide
decontamination, and related products and services.
Our typical customer is engaged in aseptic manufacturing
or laboratory testing and utilizes our systems to create an
aseptic manufacturing environment, testing environment,
or to decontaminate critical process equipment or
components entering the aseptic core.
The services that SKAN provides to document our
equipment and test our systems is second to none.
We scientifically develop efficient and effective
biodecontamination cycles that take into account unique
customer and product requirements.
Q:Can you describe the customer base today? Has that expanded or changed over the last few years?
Edwards: SKAN is a global company based near Basel,
Switzerland, that serves the pharma and biopharmaceutical
industry with their special needs for aseptic processing. We
have grown from 180 employees in 2011 to over 500 today.
We continue to emphasize our commitment to North
America by expanding our SKAN US headquarters in Raleigh,
NC, where we manage our force of factory-trained
service technicians and stock over $1 million in
Q:What new trends do you see develop- ing in the pharmaceutical market today
and what is SKAN doing to stay ahead of
Edwards: SKAN has responded to our customer’s
needs by evolving from large-scale, single product
manufacturing systems to small and flexible
modular manufacturing platforms that house
many different aseptic processes.
As the technology evolves, so do the number of
applications and needs for our rapid decon systems, transfer systems, and emphasis on containment of potent compounds, biologics with complex
requirements such as biologics, cell therapy, and
Our slogan is “Together, Always One Step Ahead,”
which reflects our commitment to working closely with our
customers to solve the problems for the next generation of
needs while pushing the boundaries of new technologies.
Q:With pressure on drug makers to lower drug pric- es, do you work with manufacturers to find new
ways to build efficiencies into their systems?
Edwards: As noted above, our VarioSys flexible modular
manufacturing platform is a great example of how even
small to medium pharma companies can efficiently
produce aseptic products with the same demanding
quality standards of big pharma. Technological
breakthroughs have increased efficiency and output,
making isolation technology now accessible and cost
effective to generic companies and CMOs.
Q:We understand that SKAN is introducing some new technology at INTERPHEX 2018. Can you
briefly describe the new equipment and outline the
Edwards: Last year, SKAN launched our patented NANOX
catalyst technology which enabled a rapid breakdown of
hydrogen peroxide sterilant gas to harmless water and oxygen in a single pass. In 2018, SKAN is launching a series
of new products utilizing that NANOX catalyst technology
for material airlocks and room decontamination.
In particular, our new generation of SKANFOG material
airlocks can easily be integrated with an existing facility or
new construction with no ducting to the outside, saving
tens of thousands in engineering, room balancing, and