By the end of 2022, the company expects to be the global leader in glass vial production. Its current capacity for vial production is 50% higher than it was pre-pandemic.
The investment in the Wertheim facility is aimed at increasing capacity by 150 million vials per year; Gerresheimer plans to create 70 new jobs to facilitate that work.
Until now, the packaging giant has primarily served the European demand for vials from its plants in Boleslawiec in Poland and in Chalon in France. The financial outlay will make the Wertheim plant one of the leading vial production sites in Europe, it added.
The expansion project at the Wertheim site is being backed by the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Action, within the framework of federal funding of production equipment of borosilicate tubular glass and glass vials for use in vaccine production.
The company outlined out the technology used in Wertheim enables vials to be produced in GX-Elite quality. “With their outstanding cosmetic and dimensional properties, vials made of this glass lead to significantly better results in the filling of vaccines. They also feature increased strength compared to standard vials.”
Ueli Utzinger, a spokesperson for Gerresheimer, told us the company won't be disclosing the value of its investment in the German facility, nor the amount of the federal funding pledged, with the representative adding that further details about the expansion work in China and the US would be divulged at a later date.
He also confirmed that the company has not had to deal with any challenges related to raw material procurement for the production of glass vials, neither now nor during the entire duration of the pandemic.
Global mega trends
Vaccination, biologics and self-medication are global mega trends in the biopharma industry and ones Gerresheimer is actively addressing in terms of its product portfolio, he noted.
“In the long term, Gerresheimer's management expects an increasing demand for drugs which have to be injected - and therefore a higher demand for vials. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of a reliable and high-quality supply of injection solutions.”