1. How long have you worked in the industry? What motivated you to enter Pharma sector?
I have worked for PSL for 6 years, joining the company as a Project Manager for Europe and USA, progressing to Technical Sales Manager and then heading up the new office for PSL APAC in 2014 as Tendering Manager for Asia Pacific.
After graduating with my MEng Degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Management, I wanted to start my career working for an international manufacturing company renowned for innovative engineering, and found a great match in PSL. Although the company also works in biopharmaceutical and chemical industries, the majority of our business is working with pharmaceutical companies which led me to become familiar with this sector.
2. What are the reasons for establishing a presence in Asian Pharma sector? In your opinion what are the advantages being in this region?
Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and the expectation is that it will continue to grow in the coming years thanks to lower labour cost, talented pool of staff, improved infrastructure, stronger IP laws and regulatory bodies. Asia Pacific includes markets globally renowned for their cGMP manufacturing capabilities such as Singapore, Japan, Korea and Australia with the addition of other ‘pharmerging’ markets such as India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
The APAC market is expanding rapidly and is seeking innovative technologies to keep improving both product quality and time-to-market. Operator and environmental safety is becoming increasingly critical for Asian manufacturers. The opening of our first operations in Australia in 2014, followed by our new office in Singapore a few months ago is PSL’s response to the increase in demand coming from our clients in APAC.
3. PSL has been exporting its products to Asian markets since 1990. Would you like to share some insights on the company’s growth and expansion in this sector?
Historically, the company has been working with Singapore and Japan since our early days. We were originally able to support this market from the UK and also via our local partners. The APAC region nowadays amounts to approximately a third of PSL’s global sales and is therefore of paramount importance to us. The local operations we have established recently highlight the significance of this region for PSL.
4. Which are your most successful implementations in Pharmaceutical sector globally so far?
We have successfully launched ground-breaking technologies globally and interests from the Asian pharma market have been great. Our innovation on Microsphere Formulation has been recognized as the best mechanical process at the prestigious ACHEMA Innovation awards in 2015, reinforcing our leading expertise in the field. The MicroSphere Refiner™ is a unique system allowing the filtration, classification, drying and sterile harvesting of polymeric microspheres used as revolutionary drug delivery devices. The formulation and sterile processing of microspheres is a key area of development for PSL and we are seen as pioneers in this technology in USA, Europe and Asia.
5. What are the areas and applications you are focusing on in the Asian pharma sectors at the moment?
The APAC office, in collaboration with its local partners are focusing on our key strengths which provide innovative and reliable technology to leading pharmaceutical manufacturers. We can see a trend for high containment systems in Asia. With the potency of the drugs manufactured getting higher, manufacturing hubs such as Singapore, Japan, Australia or Korea are either upgrading their existing facilities or building new ones with more protection given to the operators and the environment. Our containment systems consist of bespoke isolators integrating process equipment, to safely process potent or toxic compounds. We are also focusing on our latest technologies in APAC, such as sterile processing of microspheres.
6. What is your prediction for the Asia-Pacific market and key areas you see for development?
While most of the drug production in Asia is currently focusing on selling in its own domestic market, more and more manufacturers are in the process of upgrading their manufacturing standards to be able to reach markets such as Europe and the USA. The proportion of cGMP manufacturing is steadily increasing in the region, meaning that drug manufacturing in Asia is also becoming competitive in terms of production quality and not solely cost-effectiveness. Japan and Korea have just joined PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme) and more countries in the region will follow. The increasing competition within APAC countries will be beneficial in terms of the amount of innovation, research and development generated in Asia.
7. Can you give a brief insight into the various products & solutions provided by PSL to its clients? What product innovations are coming up?
PSL provides process expertise, engineering and manufacturing of filtration, drying and high containment technologies. Our filtration and drying range includes the unique GFD® lab scale Agitated Nutsche Filter Dryer (ANFD) for process development and feasibility studies, up to commercial production scale ANFDs. We also offer vacuum tray drying technology with the CakeStand Tray Dryer design proving high performance and uniform drying. We have sterile filtration experience, especially with the award winning MicroSphere Refiner™ range.
PSL was established as a pioneer of high containment systems for the pharmaceutical industry. Our range of gloveboxes and isolators protect products, operators and their environment down to nanogram levels of containment. We have the expertise to integrate any process equipment, our own filtration and drying products or equipment from others. Currently the market is leading innovation in this field with containment level more stringent and the integration of entire process lines up to the filling lines.
8. Career highlights? What key achievements do you consider for your new role as head of PSL APAC?
The highlight for me was the opening of our Asia Pacific office in Australia back in 2014. It was a risk for both our business and for myself personally, however the journey since then has been great and the PSL team in APAC is looking forward to further achievements and installations in the region. We have been learning a lot about Asian cultures and businesses while travelling in these expanding markets.
We entered the Asian Manufacturing Awards in 2013 and 2014 and won the ‘Best Pharma Production Technology Provider’. These awards have helped to establish PSL in the region and give our products recognition with regional manufacturers, reinforcing PSL’s world-class reputation.