COVID-19 vaccine rush magnifying glass demand, says Stevanato Group

Gerresheimer, The Stevanato Group, and SCHOTT have pledged to safeguard the supply of glass vials as demand from COVID-19 related projects gets set to skyrocket.

All parts of the biopharma supply chain will be called upon to support the increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccines entering and progressing through the clinic.

As such, three glass and primary packaging firms have come together to issue a statement promising to work together and with industry to ensure supply of such elements throughout all regions.

Image: iStock/NikiLitov

Teaming with Gerresheimer, and SCHOTT, The Stevanato Group – a privately-owned designer and producer of glass primary packaging – told us the global size of the glass primary packaging market is between 45 and 50 billion units with the consumption of glass vials represents 25% of the total use of glass containers.

But COVID-19, with potentially billions of vaccine doses needed to be administered, puts a strain on the supply.

“We foresee an estimated uptick in the demand of glass primary packaging of about 1-2 billion units in the next 18-24 months (linked mainly to glass vials), which can be confirmed once vaccines, treatments and dosages are defined,” said Franco Stevanato, CEO of the Stevanato Group.

“Another variable to consider is that some drugs that should be developed, due to the prioritization that COVID-19 will require, will probably experience some delays.”

Of course, pledging to secure the supply and actually doing it are two different things. Already the Padua, Italy-based firm told us it has acted proactively securing supplies and invested in new glass converting lines to increase production capacity of glass primary packaging, both bulk and ready-to-use vials, but or any type of vial the main challenge could be linked to build up the additional capacity in a very short time.

“We are all working in unprecedented circumstances that require extraordinary efforts. We are providing global coverage with all our production sites, hiring more people, and redesigning shifts to ensure we protect our staff while accelerating production. At the same time, we invest in additional capacity,” Stevanato told us.

“These circumstances bring to a higher internal total cost. Despite this exceptional and unexpected situation, our final goal is to guarantee that the product reaches the market at the best total cost that is accessible to everybody.”

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