The 11,900m2 compression moulding facility in Shanghai, China, was officially opened in a dedication ceremony this week and will produce elastomer pharmaceutical components and medical devices, supporting the growth of injectables in the region.
“The plant was planned to service primarily customers in China and the Asia Pacific region,” Warwick Bedwell - President, Asia-Pacific Region - told this publication. “Customers will include Multi National Pharma companies and their CMOs as well as local Generic and Biopharmaceutical manufacturers.”
He continued to add “the market for injectable pharmaceutical components is very large and estimated at 83.5bn units per annum and growing at 12%.”
Furthermore, Bedwell mentioned the growing number of diabetics driving demand for pre-filled syringes and insulin components, with an estimate from WHO of 92 million patients in China alone, and a growth rate of over ten percent in SE Asia.
As for competition, he said “there are more than 60 competing manufacturers of stoppers and seals in the region,” though he expects West’s experience in China to differentiate itself by offering “consistent quality and machinability” and understanding its customers needs.
Difficult Second Album?
The facility is West’s second to be built in China and is adjacent to the injection molding facility which opened its doors in 2009. That process was deemed “very tedious” by West at the time, due to delays and setbacks put down to differences in regulations and cultural practice.
Constructing and the opening of this facility, however, was predicted to be easier due to relationships forged in the development of the original plant, and this seemed to be the case according to Bedwell.
“All new plants have their challenges, however with the help of representatives of the Chinese Government and the Shanghai Zhangjiang High-Tech Industrial Development Zone Qingpu Park - [where the plants are located] - the project was completed on time with very few problems.”
Furthermore it was a much more global effort, he said, with representatives from West’s teams in China, Singapore and Germany ensuring the project ran smoothly.
West is also demonstrating the importance of the Asia Pacific market with a new packaging facility in Sri City, India which began construction last year, and will also manufacture elastometric components.