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An Industry Review of 2017 – Part 1

19 December, 2017 | ChargePoint Technology

Looking back at 2017...

As the year draws to a close, we have reached a natural point of reflection here at ChargePoint. 2017 has been yet another significant year for the pharmaceutical industry, which is experiencing a notable period of change. The last few years have seen the industry begin to transform; with the growing use of data and technology, increasing development of high potency products, the enforcement of serialisation regulations in the US, and an ever-increasing move towards single-use technology. Importantly for ChargePoint, the biopharma boom continues and therefore the demand for containment, particularly from therapeutic areas such as oncology and hormonal drug products, continues to grow.

This increase in demand led ChargePoint to invest in new machinery, at our UK facility, for the manufacture of larger diameter valves for use in bulk powder transfers and drug manufacturing. The 5-axis machine is the first of its kind within the UK and was part of a wider £1m investment at our HQ in the UK. This investment has allowed ChargePoint to speed up the production and delivery of larger diameter valves up to 350mm (14″).

The demand for containment technology to handle high potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (HPAPIs) has also led to further expansion for ChargePoint in North America, with the opening of our San Francisco office. This was an important milestone for us as our presence in the US persists. We are now ideally placed to meet the increasing demand in key markets for safer containment and sterile transfer technology.

In the latter half of 2017, we achieved the highest level of certification in Atmosphere Explosive (ATEX) and International Electro Commission (IEC) explosive (Ex) equipment, enabling ChargePoint to continue offering first-class containment solutions across the globe. These achievements reflect the hard work ChargePoint employs to provide solutions for the most severe hazardous environments. These certifications will also open more doors for product development in the coming year.


Active Growth of HPAPIs

In the last year the containment sector has benefitted hugely from the growth of the biopharma market. The reasons behind the biopharma boom have been twofold: an increase in global demand for biopharmaceutical products for “hard to treat” diseases, paired with an ever growing oncology market. As a result, these factors have led to a greater need for the development of potent compounds and an increase in drug manufacturing using HPAPIs.

Alongside this, the market has diversified. With the need for advanced control strategies to support the quality and operational safety of high potency manufacturing, innovative technology developments have been made. From isolators to RABs and split butterfly valves (SBV), innovative technology has made its way to market.

Isolators have been integrated with closed transfer valves, such as SBVs, to enable the safer transfer of potent compounds. They can be used for a variety of applications, when dust control and containment are a concern, as well as when product flow, yield and sterility are of high importance. On top of these advantages, SBV technology has been found to be less expensive and easier to use and integrate than previous techniques.

These products are all now commonly used throughout the manufacturing process and have been highly beneficial to the sector as they address the more stringent containment demands required when handling potent compounds, safeguarding not only the drug products but the operators too.