Innovation, technology and attention to the Person in the new department of single-dose strips02 June 2022
Last week, from 25 to 31 May, was World Thyroid Week, an event aimed at raising awareness among the population on the prevention of thyroid diseases. In the endocrinology area, IBSA offers innovative solutions, in terms not only of products, but also of production. Indeed, throughout its production process, IBSA places at the centre the Person, one of its four pillars (the others being Innovation, Quality and Responsibility). These pillars are the backbones – in every sense – also of the new departments within Cosmos, the production site in Lugano (CH) inaugurated in July 2021.
An example is the department dedicated to single-dose strips, that is, the single-use units utilised for the administration in liquid form of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. The adoption of the single-dose packaging – traditionally used in the ophthalmological area – also for oral use products is a great innovation in the pharmaceutical field, one which IBSA has been pursuing for over ten years.
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR MICROGRAM PRECISION
“The Cosmos department dedicated to single-dose strips is the flagship of an already excellent plant, and for us is a source of great pride”, commented Enrico Gasperotti, Head of Pharmaceutical Clusters. “In IBSA, the commitment to the quality and safety of the drug is highest, and the level and structure of the production departments also goes in this direction. From the very sophisticated automation system of the machinery to the innovative formulation of the final product, everything is designed and built with the highest efficiency and quality in mind”.
The use of cutting-edge technologies aims to increase product quality and manufacturing safety, while minimising human error. Automation goes from the preparation phase of the solution (where the process is regulated and controlled by control panels and specific software) to storage, up to packaging (which is carried out on four lines) and the finished product, where an advanced computerised system ensures that the filling weight of each strip is exactly the weight required.
This whole process is even more delicate if one considers the wide availability of dosages that are required by the various countries where the drug is registered. The single-dose strip department is able to produce as many as 15 different dosages of T3 and T4 hormones, thus guaranteeing absolute precision in the patient's therapy.
QUALITY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS
With the start of production at the Cosmos site, the manufacturing activities of the single-dose strips were reorganised. Previously, production took place in the Manno plant, near Lugano, a facility which now – after the transfer of production – can devote itself exclusively to soft capsules also containing thyroid hormones. The larger spaces of Cosmos allowed an expansion of the manufacturing of single-dose strips, reaching the production capacity of 320 million doses per year.
The single-dose strip production department has successfully obtained the appropriate manufacturing authorisations from Swissmedic (at the end of 2021) and from the Food and Drug Administration (at the beginning of 2022), respectively.
“Quality and responsibility have always been part of our company’s DNA, and the Cosmos department dedicated to single-dose strips is a concrete and tangible example”, said Andreas Gerber, Head of Quality Assurance & Responsible Person. “Transferring such a production from a manufacturing site to another is definitely a complex and delicate operation. We are proud to have obtained all the necessary permits and to have also met the required standards. And above all, we are proud to see the new and extraordinary Cosmos production site evolve and host more and more production departments”.
Precisely because this new department has a high capability, from both the innovation and quality perspective, an equally high level of preparation of the operators is required. It is therefore not only a technological evolution, but also a cultural one, in which the level of education of the staff is very high (between operational and management, about 100 people collaborate in the production activities of the single-dose strip department).
THE PERSON ALWAYS AT THE CENTRE
The quality of IBSA products is directly connected to the benefit offered to the patient. For IBSA, developing solutions that make medicines and therapies more accessible is just as important as providing a product of the highest quality. This is even more relevant in the case of chronic diseases – such as thyroid dysfunction – which require the daily intake of drugs.
And – in addition to patients – IBSA always pays particular attention to its People: its collaborators. The department dedicated to single-dose strips, as well as all the other Cosmos departments, has been designed with close attention to the details, considering aesthetics as well as functionality. The beauty sought in Cosmos is the result of choices calibrated for the well-being of People, since working in a nice, bright and well-kept space creates the conditions for improving productivity, the quality of work and the atmosphere, thus activating a virtuous circle from which everyone benefits.