Corning invests $500M to build better glass packaging for pharma
- Large industrial glassmaker Corning Inc., working together with Merck and Pfizer, has developed an improved type of pharmaceutical glass packaging to be used for injectable drugs like the biologic medicines that increasingly lead the industry in sales.
- Called Valor Glass, the new packaging is designed to be more chemically durable and damage resistant, helping avoid potential contamination.
- "Merck plans to convert several injectable products to this exceptional new glass packaging solution, pending appropriate regulatory approvals," the company's CEO Ken Frazier said in a glowing statement on the roll-out of Valor Glass.
Corning and the two drugmakers rolled out their announcement on Valor Glass as part of the White House's "Made in America Week," earning the endorsement of President Donald Trump.
Corning will make an initial investment of $500 million in the collaboration, which will continue to evaluate and test the packaging's use for pharmaceuticals. Total investment in the project could reach as high as $4 billion.
Long approval timelines for use of the packaging for medicines mean it could be some time before Corning sees revenues on the new product. But the company does expect eventual annual sales to match its cumulative investment, or $4 billion.
"Corning Valor Glass packaging dramatically reduces particle contamination, breaks and cracks, while significantly increasing throughput," said company CEO Wendell Weeks on a July 26 earnings call. "As a result, Valor helps protect patients and improve pharmaceutical manufacturing."
Corning built Valor Glass specifically with the pharmaceutical industry in mind, aiming to address problems with glass lamellae or small flakes of glass that can shed and contaminate a drug contained inside packaging.
Additionally, the more durable packaging means pharma companies can run production lines faster and more smoothly with fewer interventions.
Pfizer said it was assessing the potential of using Valor Glass on products at "several" of the pharma giant's manufacturing sites.
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