Germany’s logistics and packaging company Va-Q-Tec said it would significantly expand investment in Asia, including Korea, to strengthen its service for biopharmaceutical products.
Moritz von Wysiecki, head of global marketing at Va-Q-Tec, held a news conference at Park Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday, the first since the German firm set up a Korean unit in 2011.
“Va-Q-Tec’s global revenue has been growing 31 percent annually on average for the past 10 years, with the 2017 sales hitting 49.6 million euro ($58.7 million). The growth momentum is expected to continue,” Wysiecki said. “We will invest millions of dollars in Asia by 2019. We plan to increase subsidiaries and expand the existing structure.”
The German firm’s move comes as an apparent strategy to meet the packaging needs of Korean biopharmaceutical products, now developed more by Korean conglomerates.
“There used to be many drugs made of simple combinations of chemicals. But now, people are more interested in biologic products. So, people are noticing the importance of temperature control in transportation,” said Song Ki-beom, head of sales for the Asia Pacific at Va-Q-Tec.
“If the temperature control fails, biopharmaceuticals’ proteins get affected, and their efficacy may weaken. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, some Asian companies still transport medicinal goods in packs made of gels. But medicines need good packaging,” he added.
Song went on to say that his company’s packaging price is relatively high due to strict quality management. “To raise our price competitiveness, we launched a rental service in Europe and the U.S. In Asia, we are offering a rental service in Japan and Singapore,” he said.
The core technologies of Va-Q-Tec’s packaging are vacuum insulation panel (VIP) and phase change materials (PCM). The technologies allow the inner temperature of the medical packages and containers to stay unchanged for more than five days, keeping drugs’ efficacy intact.
Even if the transportation is delayed due to an airplane’s extended stay in an airfield, Va-Q-Tec’s temperature control guarantees medicines’ quality, the company said.
Va-Q-Tec also emphasized that packaging is essential for not only shipping but research and development. Drugmakers have globalized their business, doing R&D locally but manufacturing in Europe, and exporting products to South America, for example, it said.
Antibiotics, insulin, and adrenalin products are particularly sensitive to temperature, the company said.
“Currently, 23 out of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies in global sales need temperature control. By 2020, the number will increase to 27,” Wysiecki said.
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