A paradigm shift in device development

In the homecare setting, drug delivery devices are getting more and more important. To ensure that pharmaceutical packaging meets the specific requirements of these devices, the drug and the administration process, SCHOTT offers to co-develop individualized containers made out of cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) with the customers. Tom van Ginneken discusses the advantages of polymer as a perfect fit for individualized containers.
Tom van Ginneken joined Schott in 2008. Following different positions in the pharmaceutical product development department, he acts now as Global Product Manager for SCHOTT TOPPAC®, the polymer syringe solutions. Tom studied Chemical Engineering in Antwerp, Belgium and holds a MBA from the University of Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.
Tom van Ginneken , Global Product Manager for SCHOTT TOPPAC®
Tom van Ginneken, Head of Global Product Management for SCHOTT TOPPAC®

At CPhI Worldwide 2018 in Madrid SCHOTT presented so-called individualized polymer containers. What is meant by “individualized”?

“Individualized” refers to the co-creation of a container made of COC together with our customer. By doing so, we give the customer the opportunity to co-develop a container around his existing device, such as a wearable or autoinjector. So depending on the specific needs – for example drug stability, fill & finish needs or compatibility with a device –, we can create a container without compromising on the device design.


What are the key benefits?

We see an increasing number of drugs being administered in combination with a device to simplify the drug delivery process for the patient. Up to now, a device manufacturer had to develop a new device around an existing container from the market. What we offer is the complete opposite: We can co-develop containers to offer a perfect fit with a device and not the other way around. To give you an idea, if a manufacturer would like to reduce the size of the wearable for a more discrete administration for the patient, he would need a container according to the new device dimensions. This is where we could support with an individualized container.


Why do you use polymer instead of glass?

Polymer, specifically COC, offers a number of attractive benefits when designing pharmaceutical containers, such as its glasslike appearance, physical stability and diverse design options. Thanks to those features, the material is an ideal alternative to package specific pharmaceutical products. For the device development process, the design flexibility is of high importance. It ensures that the container is developed around the ergonomic device and that no compromises are needed from the device development team in choosing a container.


How long does it take to develop these individualized COC containers?

We try to realize it within 15 months from the first discussions to the fully automated production. We support the customer in improving the time-to-market by offering 4 stages of sampling, starting from a 3D printing, to design freeze samples, to small scale for human use samples, and up to fully commercial high value samples. The customer receives samples quickly, which can be used for either functionality or registration tests. That means reduced financial and technical risk.

February 4, 2019



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Tom van Ginneken, Global Product Manager for SCHOTT TOPPAC®
Tom van Ginneken

Head of Global Product Management for SCHOTT TOPPAC®