Third expansion this year announced for West Pharmaceutical

In Arizona, in China and now in Florida: West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. a developer, injection molder and assembler of devices for injectable drug administration, is expanding its research and development center in St. Petersburg, FL. The goal, says the company, is to add focus for new elastomer formulations, process technologies and products for West's global component manufacturing network.

"The customer-focused activities at the advanced development center will enable West to optimize product development and manufacturing processes so we can help customers meet their business objectives, such as quality by design initiatives," said Fran DeGrazio, VP for marketing and strategic business development at the company. "Our goal continues to be providing innovative packaging system components and drug administration solutions. One way we do that is to understand and eliminate variation in our products, which helps our customers reduce their exposure to risk. As quality requirements increase, global pharmaceutical manufacturers are seeking early partnerships with packaging manufacturers such as West to help mitigate risk by building quality into the product from research and development through delivery of the drug to the patient."

New investments at the R&D center will include equipment for mixing, compounding, injection molding and finishing elastomer packaging components. West expects the advanced development center to be on-line by October 2011.

West's sales in 2010 were $1.1 billion. The company has operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, with its global headquarters in Lionville, PA. In late July the company reported that its profits in the 2nd quarter fell 7% due to higher prices paid for energy and materials (plastics and others).

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Early this month West announced its introduction of a new line of steam-sterilized plungers for prefillable glass syringes. The Westar ready-to-use plungers can mitigate risk for chemical and physical deterioration of plungers through a steam sterilization cycle that West claims is better than high-dose gamma irradiation for these.

In June 2011 we reported on West's plans for a second plastics molding facility in China, adjacent to the company's current one in Shanghai. The established site handles injection molding of devices for injectable drug administration; the new plant will be devoted to compression molding. Earlier this year it also announced plans to add clean room and injection molding capacity to help it meet demand for one of its customer's syringe systems, the Daikyo Crystal Zenith syringe system. The systems are molded using Daikyo's proprietary Crystal Zenith-brand cyclic olefin polymer.

West added the capacity to its facility in Scottsdale, AZ. The Crystal Zenith prefillable syringe system includes a piston and nozzle cap with Daikyo Flurotec barrier film on the drug contact surfaces. Flurotec film provides a barrier against organic and inorganic extractables and it imparts lubricity, so there is no need to apply free silicone oil to the syringe barrel or piston. The syringe barrel is injection molded from Daikyo's proprietary cyclic olefin polymer (COP). The material can be autoclaved at 121 ºC.

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