The shift from blockbuster drugs to more targeted biologics has left contract manufacturers struggling to adapt. The smaller batch sizes for biologics, gene
therapies, and personalized medicines require a
different strategy if manufacturers are going to
maintain their efficiency and keep costs under
control. One option they’re exploring is ready-to-use (RTU) packaging.
But, while RTU can enable more flexible filling,
that alone will only add so much flexibility. In
a world with more than 200 biologics on the
market, and thousands more in various stages of
the development pipeline, manufacturers looking to
implement RTU will have to take it a step further.
RTU needs more automation, standardization, and
Pharmaceutical filling lines at many companies
were built with blockbuster drugs in mind, suited
to drug runs in the millions rather than the tens
of thousands. By enhancing RTU with these three
key initiatives, contract manufacturers can reduce
downtime, keep costs under control, and allow for
more flexibility and faster changeovers on large
A Model for Pharma?
The semiconductor industry has reaped the benefits
of harmonized packaging for years with the
Front Opening Unified Pod (FOUP), which has
become the primary vehicle for processing chips
in semiconductor workcells. The FOUP supports
the transfer of silicon wafers between the steps
of semiconductor manufacturing, and between
systems from many suppliers.
Semiconductor workcells rely on robots and
machine vision to cleanly and efficiently handle
manufacturing with limited intervention. It’s a
system that ensures safe handling of sensitive parts
and reduces the likelihood of human contact or
Pharma, however, is only recently coming around
to the benefits of FOUPs and workcells.
The Market Is Changing:
Can CMOs Change With It?
Standardizing nests that hold vials, cartridges, and syringes can allow
CMOs flexibility to maximize uptime without adding new filling lines.
By Gregor Deutschle, SCHOTT Pharmaceutical Systems