GEA experts recently discussed the advantages of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing and the benefits of understanding its target markets in South Korea

As part of GEA’s ongoing collaboration with South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) in Suwon, Richard Steiner, Business Development Manager, and Dr Jim Holman, Head of Technology Management, Pharma Solids, combined several customer visits with presentations at the 2019 PRADA-GEA/SKKU Joint Workium on pharmaceutical technology for solid dosage forms. Accompanied by partner company, Siemens, represented by Jan Verelst, Director of Business Development, SIPAT, GEA representatives were invited to discuss the benefits of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing (CM) during the event. 

Richard commented: “This is an increasingly important market for us and we were delighted to welcome more than 135 delegates from approximately 40 different pharmaceutical companies, representatives from local universities and speakers from Siemens, CKD, Janssen and Eli Lilly.” “Interest in continuous processing technology is growing in this area,” added Jim, “and many local organizations are currently taking a wait-and-watch approach, gathering as much information as possible before committing to the implementation of CM.” “There are still some regulatory hurdles to overcome in this part of the world and, with this in mind, one of our key objectives with this visit was to tackle the misunderstanding that ‘continuous equals complexity.’ Yes, we can provide top-of-the-range, fully integrated manufacturing systems that convert powder to coated tablets in a single line, but we can also supply ‘bin-to-bin’ solutions according to specific customer requirements,” he added.  

“We have to be market aware and accommodate the fact that a great deal of pharmaceutical business in South Korea is focused on generic products. Only a few new chemical entities (NCEs) have been developed in this geography,” commented Richard, adding: “Our message to the attendees here was one of value engineering, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and the clear benefits that can be achieved with continuous granulation and continuous direct compression in terms of yield, process optimization and cost savings.” The GEA ConsiGma® 1 in combination with the ConsiGma® 25, for example, combines Quality by Design (QbD) principles with automated Design of Experiment (DoE) to explore and optimize a wide range of process parameters with less product in a shorter timeframe, resulting in a better understanding of continuous manufacturing and shorter times to market. Arguments that are also valid and important for the lifecycle management of generics.  “We need to get the message and product right for this market, said Jim, “and the Workium provides an ideal opportunity to do that. Peer-to-peer communication is vital in South Korea because there aren’t as many conferences or trade shows to attend compared with other economies.” The Workium was a well-organized and well-attended event, summarized Richard: “The GEA-SKKU collaboration has enabled us to establish an active scientific network among the 100 local pharma companies and provides valuable insights into the growth potential for both our continuous and batch equipment. I look forward to returning next year to see how the market has progressed.” GEA’s centers of excellence, such as the GEA Pharma Solids Center in Wommelgem, Belgium, provide access to a full range of test facilities and teams of experts who can help with product and process development using both batch and continuous technologies. “Even more importantly,” concluded Richard, “our Korean customers have local access to GEA technologies in the GEA-SKKU laboratory in Suwon.” 

The Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

Sungkyunkwan University is a private university in South Korea. It is considered to be one of the world's leading universities. The SKKU is located within the world metropolis of Seoul and Suwon. Suwon is 45 km away from Seoul and has developed in recent years as one of the Korean industrial centers. The natural sciences campus located there forms the bridge between research and industry.

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