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Combined Pharmaceutical Freeze Drying Service Blends German and Chinese Expertise

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 20 Aug 2012
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In November 2010, GEA Pharma Systems (Hürth, Germany) acquired Beijing Sino-German Tianhe Technology (BSGT; Beijing, China) to create GEA Lyophil (Beijing), Ltd. Since then, the company has quadrupled turnover and enhanced its customer service by integrating German quality and Chinese economy to provide a unique combined offering to its pharmaceutical clients.

Jinbin Tang, MD, GEA Lyophil, Ltd. (Beijing) reported that the market had changed in China since the introduction of new requirements for good manufacturing practice (GMP) production. This had increased the requirement for high quality pharmaceutical freeze drying lines, especially in combination with ALUS (automatic load and unload systems), a technology in which GEA Lyophil in Germany are a recognized world authority. “The key for us is to make sure we use the facilities and talents of the Chinese and German manufacturing centers fully,” he explained. “We have made freeze drying machines in China for many years however it is GEA Lyophil, Germany that is the true master of ALUS. By combining both technologies, we have the ability to provide our customers with complete, cost-effective GMP production lines with the quality and security of outcome that would be expected from a German manufacturer.”

Heinrich Meintrup, managing director of GEA Lyophil in Germany, concurred: “Having this combined option allows us to blend the benefits of German quality with a more cost-effective approach. We have never been willing to play the ‘low cost’ game, it just doesn’t work, but this quality/price performance model makes our offering unique.”

The key markets for GEA Lyophil in China come from the pharmaceutical companies who acknowledge that they need to use recognized, top-quality equipment to compete on their local market as well as on a world export stage. “Most of our customers are making anticancer drugs, antibiotics or expensive biological products where top quality, security of outcome, and reliable containment are essential,” said Dr. Tang. “They consider our lines to represent the image of their companies.”

This approach has allowed GEA Lyophil to expand its customer base to include the top-end customers that require leading technology and also provide the economy needed for those that do not have such crucial requirements. Although China is beginning to suffer from less rapid growth than in recent years, both Dr. Tang and Mr. Meintrup are optimistic about the outlook in China. “We expect another big jump this and next year because of the new GMP regulations,” said Dr. Tang. “Beyond that we still expect above average growth from the pharmaceutical sector.”

One product that is becoming very popular in China, according to Dr. Tang, is the GEA Lyophil range of cost-effective pharmaceutical freeze dryers called Smart LYO. The systems are based on modular units that have been made using validated technology with comprehensive manufacturing skills and techniques. This keeps the costs down without compromising quality, performance, or system architecture/flexibility; makes validation and documentation easier; and reduces delivery times.

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