Top trends to shape future of Indian pharmaceutical machinery industry

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The pharmaceutical machinery industry grew tremendously in the 1970s, thanks to the government’s introduction of high import duties to deter increasing foothold of European manufacturers and encourage Indian manufacturing. Since then, the industry has progressed in leaps and bounds as pharma companies got easy access to cost-effective machineries, giving the Indian pharma industry a huge boost.

Today, against the global backdrop of numerous blockbuster drugs going off-patent, the Indian pharma industry has gained increased prominence. The global pharma giants find it increasingly necessary to not only offer affordable medicines, but make them accessible to regions such as Africa. According to McKinsey’s report titled, ‘India Pharma 2020,’ the Indian pharma market will grow to $55 billion by 2020, not just in terms of scale but also volumes. This, in turn, will push pharma machinery manufacturers beyond their limits to innovate, offer advanced technologies, and yet maintain a competitive advantage (over European manufacturers) in terms of cost.

One such pharma manufacturer is ACG Worldwide. With over fifty years of experience, the company offers a wide range of manufacturing and packaging solutions to the global pharmaceutical industry. Its offerings under pharma machinery include encapsulation machines, tablet presses, blister packing and cartoning machines.

Encapsulation

Securefill 12 T

Capsules, the other most dominant form of oral solid dosage, are elegant, portable, and easy to use as well as easy to administer. As compared to tabletting process, which requires pressure to compact powder into tablet resulting in high loss of costly APIs, there is no such wastage in a capsule-filling process. Besides manufacturing standard encapsulation machines to fill powders/pellets, ACG understands the criticality of certain drugs that need to be filled in liquids. Fluidocap, a range of encapsulation machines for filling liquids and band-sealing liquid in hard capsules, is a latest from ACG, offering an output ranging from 40,000 to 70,000 capsules per hour.

In addition, pharma companies seek customised attachments on their existing encapsulation machines to offer combination-filled capsules. By allowing gentle dosing of granules, pellets, powder, mini and micro tablets, capsules, and softgel, all in one capsule combination, pharma companies have found increased patient compliance due to ease of administering and attractive appearance.

Today, about 50 per cent of new chemical entities in the pipeline are highly potent, with sales for high-potency pharma ingredients expected to take off majorly. Most of the oncology drugs, opioids, hormonal agents and prostaglandins fall under this category. This calls for development of containment capsule-filling technologies, which not only protects the environment but also the personnel handling these potent drugs. ACG’s high-containment special purpose automatic capsule-filler, SECUREFILL 12T, was built for this cause.

Tabletting

Destiny 8100

Although the operating principle and fundamental design of a rotary tablet press has remained so for the last few decades, pharma machinery manufacturers have made multiple machine design improvements to cater to challenging requirements of the future. Features like an interchangeable turret system, virtually tool-less design and automatic dual micro-dosing lubrication system were introduced as special features a few years ago, but are standard requirements for today’s tabletting machines.

ACG’s Destiny 8100 (output: 1 million tablets per hour) has the capability to produce bilayer tablets with the help of a retrofittable kit. Pharma companies across the world are treating different ailments in a patient at the same time or administering multi-drug therapies for a single illness through bilayer tablets. They are also being considered for controlling release profiles of separate incompatible APIs or administering fixed dose combinations of different APIs. In addition, ACG’s high-speed high-volume tabletting machines Legacy 6100 (output: 400,000 tablets per hour) has been at the forefront in adding Multi-Unit Particulate System (MUPS) capabilities.

B45 + K120i

Blister packing and cartoning

Packaging technologies such as blister packing and cartoning show considerable potential for growth. Today, packaging machinery manufacturers are facing stiff competition on two fronts price (from Chinese manufacturers) and quality (from European manufacturers). ACG, through its vast experience and strong focus on innovation, has overcome these challenges to a large extent. Offering blister packing and cartoning machines such as B45 and K120i respectively for pharma as well as several non-pharma applications, ACG has demonstrated capabilities such as speed, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and compactness.

Equipment manufacturers like ACG specialise in both lab-scale machine models and commercial equipment support the industry with technical and development support for scale-up. However, in areas where ACG has not been able to directly address the needs of the Indian pharma industry, it has tied-up with a few global manufacturers to bring their class-leading technologies to India. Today, ACG’s pharma machinery partners include Pharmagel (softgel encapsulation), alphaphoenix (cGMP washers), Truking (sterile injectable machineries), Azbil Telstar (Lyophilization) and Dara (syringe filling & closing lines), while packaging machinery partners include TGM (flow wrapping), Effytec (horizontal form fill sealing), PFM (vertical form fill sealing) and shrink wrapping (Autopack).

As the generics boom kicks-in, pharma companies worldwide look towards experienced partners like ACG Worldwide to offer best-in-class solutions as well as cost-effective methods of producing effective and affordable healthcare.

(ACG Worldwide’s will have its booth no. H34+I34 in Hall no. V, at P-MEC India 2013)

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