Eccles: As a company with a new sterile-product range designed to meet a very specific niche within traditional pharmaceutical processing, adapting to meet the developing requirements set by bioprocesses has been interesting. While this has been challenging, it has also presented opportunities and a new revenue stream for us. We have developed new products suited to specific bioprocessing applications as well as adapting some of our existing range of powder transfer valves. We have been able to offer solutions to the industry that allow manufacturers to process in a way that they previously couldn't. A fundamental element to this product development program has been knowledge. The learning curve has been steep in order to keep up with the pace of the industry and we have had to work closer than ever with customers to understand their needs. This shift in focus has also involved ensuring that we have product specialists for biopharmaceuticals, and their knowledge is spread though our teams.
PharmTech: Do you see a new industry trend emerging?Eccles: We continue to see an increase in active ingredient toxicity levels that requires increasingly more stringent controls during production.
More and more of our customers' manufacturing techniques have a sterile requirement. In some cases, the sterile products being processed could also present some risk in terms of toxicity, which presents some unique challenges.
PharmTech: How is your company responding to regulators' intensifying emphasis on inspections and product quality?
Eccles: From an equipment supplier perspective, we aim to stay in touch with our customers' needs and the requirements set by the regulators. We must increase the awareness of the solutions we have available to our customers that enable them to meet their regulatory targets.