Vetter Launches New US Facility for Clinical Trial Materials

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The German fill-finish provider Vetter inaugurated a new US facility in Skokie, IL, just outside Chicago, along with a new subsidiary, Vetter Development Services USA Inc.

The German fill-finish provider Vetter inaugurated a new US facility in Skokie, IL, just outside Chicago, along with a new subsidiary, Vetter Development Services USA Inc. When complete, the new facility will be able to carry out fill-finish operations for small quantities of clinical trial materials.

Although currently only office space is ready, the 24,000 square-foot facility will ultimately include two laboratories (a microbiology laboratory and a quality control laboratory), and three cleanrooms, which are expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Vetter celebrates the launch of the company’s new small-scale fill-finish facility in Skokie, IL. Pictured (L-R): Wolfgang Kerkhoff, Executive Committee, Vetter; David Miller, President and CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO); Oskar Gold (at rear), Vice President, Key Account Management, Vetter, Udo J. Vetter, Executive Committee, Vetter; Donald E. Morel, Jr., PhD (at rear), President and CEO, West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.; Claudia Roth, PhD, Director of Development Services, Vetter; Peter Soelkner, Managing Director, Vetter; Dennis Sienko (at rear), Senior Advisor to the Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Gunther Strothe, Executive Committee, Vetter, Thomas Otto (at rear), Managing Director, Vetter; Max Horn, Managing Director, Vetter; Michael Rosen, Senior Vice President, New Business Development, Forest City Science + Technology Group.

The first cleanroom will include a semi-automated filling line for a variety of packaging forms, from vials to dual-chamber syringes, capable of filling 500 to 600 items per batch, for Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. "This highly flexible line is designed for small-scale fills, for example for proof of principle studies," said Peter Soelkner, managing director of Vetter. "For example, a company might want to fill a small quantity to test whether a given formulation will be stable in a certain presentation, or be well accepted by patients.

A second cleanroom will include a state-of-the-art Bosch filling system that was launched earlier this year at Achema. "This system allows you to control filling almost to the last drop, to minimize product loss," said Soelkner. "That is particularly important in early stages of clinical development, when often only very small quantities of drug are available."


The third cleanroom will include a filling line for higher quantities of single-chamber syringes.

Soelkner said the US-based plant would bring Vetter closer to its core customer base. "Two thirds of the drugs in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials come out of North America," he said. "Being on the same continent will make it easier for them to work with us."

In deciding where to locate the plant, Soelkner said the logistics were important. The new facility is located in the Illinois Science & Technology Park in Skokie, IL, a 20-minute cab ride from Chicago's O'Hare airport, making it easy to reach from the East and West coasts of the US.

The readiness of the facility was another factor, Soelkner said. The facility was previously owned by Pfizer, and had already been revamped by Forest City, the owners of the technology park. "This will enable us to get the facility ready quite quickly," he said.