Premium glass for parenterals
Schott is a global pioneer in glass and parenteral packaging. Vikas Acharya, Business Manager, Pharmaceutical Packaging-India, Schott Glass outlines future growth plans to Viveka Roychowdhury
Schott Glass India started its operations in 1998. What has been the revenue growth in the last few years?
We have been growing at a substantial rate over the last few years. The growth areas have been our pharma tubing, pharma primary packaging and solar businesses where we have seen a lot of business expansion in the recent years.
What are the challenges of the parenteral packaging segment of the pharma industry?
One of the major challenges for the pharma industry today is to get the right primary packaging material for their formulation, especially for the parenteral segment. As the pharma industry in India has adopted the product patent regime from 2005, more and more companies are entering into R&D and formulation development. This has created demand for the better quality of parenteral packaging products which offers better surface alkalinity and improved shelf life, for example.
How does Schott meet these challenges?
As one of the leading suppliers of parenteral packaging worldwide, Schott Pharmaceutical Packaging uses only premium glass tubing and state-of-the art manufacturing equipment to produce its syringes, cartridges, vials and ampoules. Continuous R&D and the use of the latest technologies, like the in-house developed visual inspection systems, enable us to meet the high demands of our customers. All of our 11 production sites situated worldwide operate in a GMP environment and the products comply with the international standards USP, EP and JP. On top of this, Schott has a dedicated R&D centre for research in glass, special materials and related applications at German headquarters in Mainz and employs more than 600 R&D staff worldwide. This has led us to meet the market requirements by launching some of our premium products like Schott Type I Plus, Purgard etc which meets the increasing requirements of the pharma industry.
What are the specific technologies which differentiate Schott from other providers in this segment?
Schott is a pioneer in glass and its application for over 100 years and especially in pharma systems. Our superior know-how in manufacturing, quality control, packaging helps us to offer our products in a tight specification band. The customer benefits in using our products by improving his productivity. For our tubing production, we have introduced new innovations some of which are a unique identification line which makes it possible to ensure that the packaging originates from Schott tubing, ISO 9001:2000 certification by TUV Rhineland, publication of technical terms of supply for NGC/NGA tubing and DENSOPACK system introduced for the first time by Schott in India.
What is the current manufacturing capacity and are there any plans for expansion?
As far as pharma tubing is concerned, we have a production facility in Baroda where we manufacture about 40 tons/day of pharma tubing. When Schott took over the facility in 1998, we had two production tanks. We have now set up a third tank where we produce our internationally recognised FIOLAX brand of tubing.
Regarding our pharma packaging business, we supply our customers in India today from our 11 production plants worldwide, mainly from our facility in Indonesia. Our production sites produce more than six billion syringes, vials, cartridges and ampoules made of tubing glass and high-tech polymer in total. The pharma industry in India is growing rapidly and is also well recognised world over. In the future, we would not only like to participate in the growth of this market, but we would also like to play an active role in supporting Indian pharma companies in upgrading their products for international markets.
What are the trends in the parenteral packaging segment and how will this change product design?
Ever since the human genome has been sequenced, the focus of the entire pharma industry has changed to manufacture disease specific drugs. With this, even trends for parenteral packaging has changed from traditional ampoules and vials to high tech products like pre-fill syringes, cartridges, coated products etc.
Are these customer/patient-driven?
Yes, especially the pre-fill syringes are customer-and patient-driven as they minimise the risk of contracting diseases like HIV, hepatitis etc.
What is the targeted growth rate for the next five years and what are the strategies to achieve this?
We are targeting to grow above market growth rates in our key businesses of pharma tubing, primary pharma packaging and Solar. These three businesses are the focus areas for Schott. However, at the same time, we are also looking at our other major businesses like electronic packaging, special tubings and optics for growth.