The consumer packaging company Rexam Healthcare is investing $20.3m (€15m) into expanding the La Verpilliere site, near Lyon, France, which produces, amongst various drug administration devices, the sub-sets of an insulin pen exclusively for Eli Lilly.
Rexam’s Communication manager Laurence Quesdeville told this publication that the extension at the facility was “linked to the increase in volumes, mainly led by Lilly.”
Demand for insulin pens
Julie Herrick Williams, Communications Manager at Lilly Diabetes confirmed this, telling this publication that “demand for insulin pens has increased as the use of insulin has increased,” blaming the rise of diabetes worldwide and the move away from traditional injections as a delivery choice.
According to a report by Transparency Market Research, the global insulin market is rising at a compound annual rate of 12% and is expected to reach $32.3bn by 2018.
The insulin pen offers an alternative delivery approach for sufferers of diabetes to the more painful and time consuming injection of insulin, although it is a more expensive option for insulin users.
Lilly has also dabbled with the insulin inhaler which they dropped in 2008 along with various other big pharma companies over issues of safety and administration.
Quesdeville said that “Rexam has been the European supplier for Eli Lilly of the sub-sets of their insulin pen since 2008” coinciding with the completion of Rexam’s first expansion which led to the doubling of size of the plant, creating 50 new jobs.
Asthma inhalers and other injection devices are manufactured on site but currently more than 3000m2 is dedicated to manufacturing the insulin pen. The extension will add a further 2400m2 of clean room to be used exclusively for the device.
Rexam’s sub-sets are complemented by the insulin-filled glass cartridge which is produced at Lilly’s plant in Strasbourg, France where the two components are put together to create the pen.