IPT Attends Grand Opening of Roquette’s New Pharmaceutical Application Development Center
The Roquette Group, a major supplier of excipients and active ingredients to the pharmaceutical industry, announced the launch of a new Pharmaceutical Application Development Center at its Lestrem site in Pas de Calais, France last month.
As the fifth largest producer of starch in the world, the company’s work transforming plant-based raw materials into excipients for medicinal drugs is globally recognised. The new centre – a technologically advanced 800m2 laboratory – is dedicated exclusively to its pharmaceutical customers, offering a facility tailor-made for drug formulation. IPT was invited to participate in a tour of the recently completed building.
Visitors were welcomed with a presentation from Guillaume Fichet, Director of the Lestrem site, who introduced Roquette’s mission and ambitions. He gave an outline of the company as a whole, with a breakdown of key facts and figures. With nearly 80% of the company’s resources currently residing in the food, nutrition and health sectors, and 10% of its total revenue annually reinvested in industrial capital and R&D, Roquette is in a position to demonstrate its commitment to the pharma industry, as well as continued innovation in this area.
Isabelle Routier, Vice President of the Center, followed up with a look at the reasons behind the facility’s creation. Roquette holds nearly 500 patents (a third of which are solely pharma-related), and around 25-40 patents are filed each year. In order to continue the growth of the company and its products, a dedicated space for pharmaceutical formulations was considered to be a logical next step. Routier stated that “the pharma sector is being strengthened by this new lab”, with the capacity available for bigger, better production and an expert team that can make this happen.
Finally, Global Pharmaceutical Application Coordinator, Philippe Lefevre, summarised the centre’s goals for the future. For 40 years, Roquette has worked within the pharma sector making made-to-measure products and excipients; today, a high proportion of products are created to anticipate the market and customer needs, before a demand even exists. With a facility dedicated to pharmaceutical challenges, standards and considerations, Roquette believes it is in a stronger position to innovate and develop the excipients of the future.
A tour of the Development Center revealed the capabilities of the lab. After passing through an intermediate changing room and donning protective clothing, a pressurised corridor allows visitors to view all facilities without entering any of the rooms. Each room is designated to a different product, thus avoiding risk of contamination.
Specially constructed windows prevent ultraviolet rays and heat from entering the lab, while at the same time maintaining a naturally bright light for optimal working conditions, even on a cloudy day. Controlled humidity and air conditioning ensure that sensitive products can be kept in the appropriate manner.
Different rooms offer different functions, serving state-of-the-art compression, film coating and granulation technologies. The facilities have clearly been designed to offer a high level of efficiency, safety and hygiene.
Provision for future growth has not been forgotten – space has been reserved for additional equipment, including one particular machine due for installation in 2016. Its ability to simulate more than 80% of existing rotary tablet presses will enable the team to meet a wide variety of customer requirements.
The Lestrem site is Roquette’s headquarters, and its largest biorefinery and research centre. The new lab will be able to benefit from the existing infrastructure of this industrial site, as well as collaborating with the research and sales teams situated there.
The pharmaceutical facility will join the company’s global network of other Application Development Centers dedicated to a variety of other sectors, such as Food and Human Nutrition, and Materials, Plastics and Polymers.
IPT would like to thank Roquette for inviting us to its press day and guiding us through its procedures and facilities.