The facility will produce Schott Type I borosilicate glass, a high quality tubing glass that complies with international standards USP, EP and JP and manufacturing will begin in China by mid 2006.
This type of glass, used to make vials and syringes for the pharmaceutical industry, has seen a strong increase in demand at the top end of the market in China, as manufacturers there are increasingly gaining access to more high quality medications that require high standard glass delivery devices.
Previously supply of this glass was limited in China and many drug manufacturers had to import it if they wanted to export their products to countries that demand glass packaging that meets international standards, a company spokesman told In-Pharmatechnoligist.com.
Glass is very inert and many plastic forms of packaging are not suitable as drug delivery devices for certain types of drugs because they can cause an ion exchange.
This plant will give Chinese manufacturers greater access to the product through shorter production and delivery times, opening up the door of opportunity for Chinese companies to not only distribute high quality injectables more widely in China, but export outside of China and compete with drug companies who currently supply lucrative markets such as Europe and the US.
The injectable drug market is growing strongly at present, driven by the rising number of biologic drugs coming though the biopharma industry's pipelines, as most therapeutic protein drugs must be administered by injection.
Rising 16.3 per cent to an estimated $83 billion (70.2 billion) in 2002, the injectable drug delivery industry is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 10 per cent between 2002 and 2008.
Western injectable drug makers will now have to keep an eye on Chinese companies beginning to muscle in on their territory.
We are expecting the market for Schott Type I borosilicate glass to continue to grow in China and we think our company will grow faster than the market, the company said.
Currently Schott is dominant in the Chinese market for this type of glass, with a 50 per cent market share, and only a handful of small Chinese manufacturers as competitors.
It is expected that Schott's main competitors, Beckton Dickinson, Gerresheimer and Nuovo Ompi will soon follow into China to grab a slice of the action.