For a non expert reader, glass manufacturing could be perceived as a commodity, a price-driven industry where innovation lies mostly in energy efficiency furnace developments allowing savings in energy use.
This is far from reality in the whole industry, and still more in glass manufacturing for pharma industry, where innovation plays a key role, determining successes and failures in the industry.
Indeed, glass industry is developing final products for the pharmaceutical sector featuring higher and higher performances in terms of chemical resistance and barrier properties, also through the development and application of specialized coatings and treatments.
Bormioli Pharma, international health solution provider manufacturing glass and plastic primary packaging for pharmaceutical use, is among the companies that are driving innovation in the industry, with different actions in place to ensure a continuous development in terms of glass manufacturing, enabling the production of highest quality vials and containers.
Indeed, the company made of innovation a key pillar in its company strategy, implementing a brand new programme, named Bormioli Pharma Invents, based on an Open Innovation approach.
This approach represents a real breakthrough for the pharma packaging industry, traditionally bound to internal R&D departments and processes, not accessible and not able to communicate with external stakeholders.
The advantages of open innovation – which means developing a distributed model, where the know-how is spread among internal and external players - are a significant cost reduction coming from inbound open innovation, reducing the development cost, and generating new revenue streams from spin offs and licenses.
Coming to the specific research projects undertaken by Bormioli Pharma, a partnership has been established with Italian leading research centre IMEM-CNR to develop external and internal coatings able to increase glass performance and is experimenting an innovative treatment to make soda-lime glass bottles increasingly resistant to aggressive pharmaceutical formulations.
The company has also financed a PhD scholarship for a research project on glass containers performances during the sterilisation process.
Indeed, Bormioli Pharma’s activities on glass innovation started several years ago.
Among the other achievements, Bormioli Pharma developed innovative moulded glass products, named Delta, featuring superior performances in terms of chemical stability, mechanical strength, aesthetics and dimensional and thermal stability.
Thanks to a controlled production process enabling a higher-quality product, Delta vials are highly suitable to host the most demanding parenteral drugs, such as vaccines, offering a robust alternative to tubing glass vials.
Delta project well represents how innovation can potentially address a real market challenge, as the tubing glass vials shortage of the last two years, introducing effective industry paradigm shifts.