Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company announced that they would collaborate to investigate the potential uses of the latter’s Oxycapt technology for the development of prefilled syringes (PFS).
The technology is of interest to BD as the company supplies PFS to more than 70% of the top 100 biopharma companies, with its inventory including the option to provide glass and plastic syringes, depending on the type of pharmaceutical.
According to Mitsubishi, its Oxycapt technology is an attempt to fuse the benefits of both plastic and glass syringes into one product. The material itself is formed of plastic but is composed of multiple layers, which consists of a drug contact and water vapor barrier layer, an oxygen barrier layer, and a further water vapor barrier layer.
Existing glass and plastic syringes each individually have their issues, with the former suffering from high-breakability and poor pH stability and the latter possessing an insufficient oxygen and UV barrier.
Mitsubishi suggests the Oxycapt multilayer product is able to address these weaknesses, with the only area that the company acknowledged to perform worse than glass or plastic is in the product’s level of heat resistance.
The companies are looking to develop PFS that are particularly useful for advanced biologic compounds, such as antibodies, viral vectors, or mRNA.
Mitsubishi stated that the material is particularly suited for biologics due to its low extractables, high-breakage resistance, and glass-like high oxygen barrier. As a result of these factors, drugs stored in this type of material could last longer, with improved stability and efficacy, compared to existing materials.
When asked for further details of the companies’ plans, a spokesperson for BD stated that the project is “still in the early phases” and therefore specifics could not be provided.
For BD, the partnership represents one part of a broader move to invest in PFS technology and to add to its existing manufacturing capacity. In December 2020, the company announced plans to invest approximately $1.2bn over four years to this end.
At the time this move was revealed, Eric Borin, worldwide president of BD Pharmaceutical Systems, noted that this would allow the company to have ‘surge capacity’ to meet PFS demand in ‘times of pandemic response,’ as well as to meet demand for further growth of injectable drugs and vaccines.
The company had already seen demand rapidly increase during the early stages of the COVID-19, with orders reaching the hundreds of millions from individual countries. To position itself for further demand in the future, BD plans to build a new plant in Zaragoza, Spain, to provide PFS for the European market.