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Rigid Plastics

Berry Boosts Investment in Global Healthcare Space

Image: Berry Global RSO1 inhaler
The RS01X inhaler can connect through Bluetooth to the Respiro app, enabling patients to receive reminders, personalized insights, and inhaler technique tips.
Berry Global has established a dedicated global rigid healthcare packaging and device business unit. Jean-Marc Galvez, who heads the unit, discusses the “patient-centric” principles that underpin the business and how it realizes that ambition.

Berry GlobalJean-Marc Galvez

Jean-Marc Galvez, Berry Global.

During a recent Q4 2020 earnings call, Berry Global CEO Tom Salmon highlighted key drivers for organic growth within the group. He also shed light on some “small business movements” at the beginning of fiscal 2021 to “further accelerate [this] growth” across the company’s global footprint. One of those initiatives involves the global rigid healthcare packaging and device business, which has grown revenue from $500 million in 2015 to more than $1 billion, according to Salmon. To fortify its position within this business segment, Berry has established a dedicated global rigid healthcare packaging and device business unit. The unit is headed by Jean-Marc Galvez, who discussed the “patient-centric” principles that underpin the business, and how it realizes that ambition, with PlasticsToday.

New cleanrooms for medtech manufacturing.

Berry Global currently operates more than 15 healthcare-focused sites in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Mexico. The new division “builds on a successful history of meeting the unique drug-delivery needs of pharmaceutical and medical device companies,” said Galvez. Notably, Berry has added resources and capital to support the development of innovative drug-delivery products and digitalization capabilities for medical device packaging. New investments include ISO Class 7 to Class 8 cleanrooms for manufacturing medical device and drug-delivery solutions,” said Galvez.

Inhalers are among the company’s signature products, and Berry has brought on board technology that fosters user compliance, including sensors and digital capabilities that connect the devices to apps and the cloud. “Our new inhaler RS01X can connect through Bluetooth to the Respiro app developed by Amiko to provide reminders, personalized insights, and inhaler technique tips,” explained Galvez. “Patients can share their data with healthcare providers, in person and digitally, to enable collaborative and data-driven treatment adjustments.” The company's most recent development is an eye dropper with a nozzle that uniformly dispenses drops of the same size and weight, ensuring that the right dose is administered every time. The technology received an award at CPHI China, a trade show for the pharmaceutical industry.

Berry’s focus on the digitalization of packaging and healthcare products aligns with the company’s emphasis on the patient as a person, added Galvez. It drives “data-backed treatment decisions, supports patient adherence, and, ultimately, a better healthcare experience. Delivering a better healthcare experience through innovative, patient-centric packaging and medical devices will drive growth,” said Galvez.

COVID-19 prompts pivot.

When COVID-19 emerged, Berry pivoted its global capabilities to respond to the pandemic and develop new products to meet both consumer and healthcare needs, noted Galvez. “We now offer a unique range of global packaging and protective solutions for COVID-19, including non-woven personal protective equipment like masks and surgical gowns as well as sterile vials and bottles for at-home testing kits. We are investing more than $50 million, and our newly created division is at the core of those actions,” said Galvez.

Sustainability has become an increasing concern within the healthcare sector, as PlasticsToday and other media outlets have noted. (In “Sustainability in Medical Device Packaging? Yeah, It’s a Thing,” for example, a Medtronic packaging engineer describes steps taken by the world’s largest medical device company to shrink its environmental footprint.)

For its part, Berry has positioned itself as a “partner in closed-loop sustainable solutions,” said Galvez. He cites four key strengths the company brings to customers: Expertise in design for circularity, scale to access high-quality sustainable polymers, global capabilities, and investments to meet the needs of their sustainability goals.

“Berry offers one of the lightest over-the-counter packaging portfolios, reducing plastic and saving on greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Galvez. “And we are launching the lightest dual-port, blow-fill-seal closure, a safe and easy-to-use solution for all types of intravenous and infusion systems in hospitals and other clinical environments.” The Cyrano device is up to 64% lighter than some competitor products and provides an important sustainability benefit through reduction in overall plastic,” he added.

We have entered 2021 with momentum, stressed Galvez. “I am confident about our path forward — delivering ongoing value to the global healthcare industry through increased innovation around digitalization and sustainability. We strive to continue delivering a better patient experience.”

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