LIVE FROM CPHI: Almac makes further significant co-investment to meet Japanese client demand


Investment responds to blister packaging requirements of two Japanese clients

Almac, a leading provider of contract services to the global pharma and biotech industries, has expanded its UK commercial packaging facility, to provide a state-of-the-art humidity controlled blister packaging suite, complete with off-line 'just in time' blister printing.

Meeting the requirements of two Japanese clients, the expansion includes extensive suite modifications for processing humidity sensitive drug products; and the installation of a new Noack 623 blister line, a custom designed desiccant feeder and an off-line Hapa Blister-Jet printer.

The Noack blister line provides enhanced flexibility for processing larger blister sizes and innovative multi-product blister formats; it can be configured to process both thermoform and coldform materials, with maximum blister sizes of 220 x 155mm. This versatile line facilitated the integration of a bespoke desiccant feeder that cuts, picks and places reel-fed desiccant wafers into blister pockets.

The off-line Hapa Blister-Jet augments just-in-time production. By printing country-specific artwork and variable data on each individual blister pocket, it enhances flexibility and significantly reduces stock holding.

'Almac represents an exciting watermark for Hapa. This partnership indicates that our innovation strategy — with high investment in just-in-time, on demand print technologies - is on the right track,' said James MacKenzie, Commercial Director at Hapa. 'As order sizes continue to fall, the business case for late stage customisation continues to grow. The addition of the Blister-Jet to Almac’s portfolio extends their capability to provide rapid and efficient late stage customisation of bulk-packed blisters.'

He explained that Almac’s partnership approach to working with clients is shared by Hapa. 'Their expertise enables us to deliver this project quickly and efficiently,',”MacKenzie added.

David Downey, Almac’s VP of Commercial Operations explains: 'This co-investment allows Almac to address complex packaging challenges associated with innovative drug products that require enhanced environmental controls but, importantly, also provides our partners with the option to address modest country-specific market volumes, by off-line printing blank blisters through the Hapa unit.

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'This solution will be of significant value to those companies launching orphan and niche blistered drug products into EU and ROW markets, many of which Almac already support.'