Malvern's main business is in the supply of analytical equipment for gathering particle characterisation data, such as particle size distribution, shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, and bulk material properties, as well as rheological property measurement.
Such data is used by pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of their quality assurance process of the ingredients such as crystals, powders, droplets and emulsions that are being used to make drugs.For pharma customers who are interested in buying their equipment but want to "try before they buy," Malvern conducts in-house particle characterisation testing services, usually for a period of 1-2 years, so that customers can see the results.
However another and smaller part of Malvern's business is organising the contract testing of particles for companies who do not want to buy any equipment, but just want to outsource the service.
Until recently, the company's French subsidiary used 10 contract laboratories throughout France to carry out this work, however Malvern, realising the inefficiency of such a disjointed arrangement, decided to consolidate the operation.
A contract covering all of Malvern's out-of-house contract testing in France has since been awarded to Toulouse-based Laboratoire de Génie Chimique (LGC), an academic research department linked to the French national research organisation CNRS and to two local Universities (Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse and Université Paul Sabatier).
Under the new arrangement, samples for testing will be sent directly from Malvern's French clients to the LGC, where staff specially trained by Malvern will conduct and report on the tests.
"The main reason we have done this is to save time in this outsourcing process. Through the new arrangement, LGC will be able to turn these testing services around ten per cent faster than before," a Malvern spokesperson told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.
"We chose to work with this university in particular as they have a strong knowledge of particle characterisation and processing, as well as other related areas such as microscopy and they are also already equipped with lots of our analysing instruments."
The company also plans to use the arrangement to extend its current expertise to new techniques and gain new contacts, as well as developing its research in process engineering.
"Malvern already has a similar arrangement in place with the University of Leeds in the UK and our US subsidiaries are also similarly involved with university partnerships like this," said the spokesperson.
"The company is now looking to put these partnerships in place in its other global locations, beginning with Germany."