Bilcare’s Global Clinical Supplies (GCS) unit said the “multifold” expansion would strengthen its offering to customers both in India and around the globe.
The move ties in with the trend towards outsourcing clinical trial materials manufacturing by Big Pharma, which is in turn driven by increasing regulatory pressures on safety. This is leading to an increase in the number and size of clinical trials, with companies turning to emerging contract research markets such as Asia to meet the demand for patient recruitment.
“The facility now has the ability to manufacture, package and distribute clinical trial materials using its own in-house interactive voice response service (IVRS),” said Bilcare in a statement. It can manage a broad range of clinical supplies, including controlled drugs following approval from India’s Narcotics Control Bureau.
The facility at Pune was first commissioned in October 2005, and Bilcare GCS says it was the first major operation for providing clinical trial materials in India.
"This will significantly enhance the capability of sponsors to conduct clinical trials across the world - inclusive of Asia- with desired alacrity,” commented Ajit Dubhashi, president of Bilcare GCS, Asia Pacific.
The new investment comes on the back of a major revamp of the Bilcare GCS business in recent months.
In September, the company announced another major expansion drive for its late-stage clinical trial materials business, upgrading its large-scale bottling line at its US facilities and adding new blisterpack capabilities in Phoenixville, Philadelphia, and Powys in Wales.
The US upgrade included 26 state-of- the-art packaging rooms, new high-speed blistering technology and large-scale bottling line and tripled its capacity of ambient storage facility. Similar packaging upgrades were added at the UK facility.
Then, in November, the firm added to its preclinical and early-stage development capabilities by adding fluid bed granulation and new capsule-filling equipment at Phoenixville.
Bilcare has also strengthened its distribution capabilities across the world with a recent agreement with World Courier, a specialty logistics company with cold chain expertise.
That deal enhanced the firm’s distribution reach in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Russia and Eastern Europe.