The medical-related operations of injection molders Tech Group and Nypro Inc. are playing key roles in two innovative inhalers for different uses.
Tech Group, a unit of West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., has outfitted a dedicated 65,000-square-foot facility to manufacture inhalers as the delivery device for the new Exubera dry-powder insulin. The Tempe, Ariz., site has 15 Netstal injection presses with clamping forces of 30-300 tons.
The inhaler makes use of the properties of more than 15 plastic compounds, said Mike Treadaway, general manager of Tech Group's drug-delivery devices business unit, in a recent telephone interview.
Tech Group worked closely with Exubera developer Nektar Therapeutics of San Carlos, Calif., and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. of New York. The product will enter the market by midyear.
Exubera will be ``the first inhaled form of insulin and the first insulin option that does not need to be administered by injection in the United States,'' Pfizer said in a news release.
The company said it plans to hire 450 people to produce Exubera at a $160 million plant in Terre Haute, Ind.
In separate actions in late January, the Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission approved use of Exubera for treatment of adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
As a powder formulation of human insulin, Exubera acts fast when inhaled into the lungs through the mouth. Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes; about 95 percent of those have type 2, Pfizer said. Treadaway withheld volume and employment projections, but said the product ``looks promising'' for Tech and represents ``a large investment for all parties.''
West Pharmaceutical of Lionville, Pa., acquired Tech Group in 2005.
Nypro has agreed to manufacture a pulmonary drug-delivery device for Ventaira Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, for a phase-two FDA clinical trial in asthma patients beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.
The injection molder will manufacture the Mystic inhalation device in a clean room at Nypro's Clinton, Mass., facility, Leslie Williams, Ventaira president and chief executive officer, said via e-mail.
Ventaira disclosed the Nypro manufacturing agreement March 21.
Nypro has significant experience in medical-device manufacturing, specifically inhalation devices, said Michael Fritschy, Nypro's director of program management and technology.