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Sepha launches small batch contract packaging service amid rising demand

1 Feb 2021

The CPO's new division will offer a holistic blister packaging development service, complete with QA and non-destructive leak testing, encompassing material selection, tooling design, and 3D prototyping

Sepha has launched a contract packaging service to serve the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and medical device industries in response to what it described as a recent explosion in demand for small batch production.

A number of factors account for this surge in demand, including the rise of personalized medicines and orphan drugs, as well as the industry's need to produce small batches economically.

According to Paul Smith, Managing Director of Sepha, some customers were having to halt 24/7 high-speed blister lines to produce a few hundred sample packs. "This is not what these lines were designed for and cannot be justified in terms of line clearance and changeover times," he said.

This trend has led to larger pharmaceutical manufacturers and contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) struggling to accommodate occasional low volumes on their high-speed production lines.

Sepha, therefore, has introduced the new service in response to this challenge amid increasing calls for support from its larger pharmaceutical customers.

"We see ourselves working in partnership rather than in competition with large CMOs," said Smith.

The company's new contract packaging offer focuses on providing cost-effective, low volume runs of blister and medical device packs within short turnarounds.

Operating from a new packaging facility in Belfast, the service produces packs for sampling, testing, and research, independent of the availability of larger blister pack lines.

Housing a range of blister packaging equipment, the facility accommodates the gamut of small-batch packaging projects, from cold-form and thermoform blisters to MAP packs, trays for medical devices, and temperature and humidity-controlled packaging.

The company's design experience enables them to offer a holistic blister packaging development service, complete with QA and non-destructive leak testing. Encompassing material selection, tooling design, and 3D prototyping, the full-service offering is geared to manufacturers looking to test or compare different materials and designs on a pilot scale.

The new contract packaging service targets companies looking to outsource anything from 100 up to 10,000 packs per week, either as one-off runs or longer-term contracts. These might be packs for use in stability studies, multiple formats for patient compliance testing, or marketing samples, for example.

Multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers wanting to focus on drug development and outsource the packaging of solid dose tablets, capsules, and medical devices will be the main beneficiaries.

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