ENTERPRISE SPONSOR: Oral Solid Dose (OSD)
Avara, one of That's Nice's Road to 2021 sponsors, discusses how the company is innovating to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond to face the future of healthcare.
Avara’s services are the manufacturing and supply of oral solid dose (OSD) and sterile injectable products, and the company’s strategy is to grow organically by providing a responsive, flexible, and tailored contract manufacturing service to clients. Avara offers a breadth of services across a global network of facilities and works with existing and new clients to understand their current and future needs — and how Avara can invest in new technologies to support those needs.
Avara brings together key members of the operations, quality, and engineering teams as part of the larger project team to ensure that all areas of expertise are involved in scoping and planning, even before a project is placed. Each team continually monitors innovations in their specialty area, so that they can stay current with industry trends and support clients, now and in the future.
Avara has focused on innovations that extend or complement the company’s core competencies, or those implemented in response to a product-specific requirement for a client’s project. For example, in the OSD area, the company has invested in compression capabilities to provide up to tri-layer tablets at the Arecibo, Puerto Rico, site. The company also has extensive oral dispersing tablet technologies at its facility in Aiken, South Carolina. The facility in Norman, Oklahoma, offers spray drying technologies to support the bioavailability of products. Looking forward, Avara is particularly interested in technologies that can complement its existing core competencies and is monitoring the growing trend in prefilled syringe use in the lyophilized and liquid sterile fill-finish of vials and ampoules — an offering at the Liscate, Italy, facility.
Innovating During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Liscate facility is located in Lombardy, an area heavily impacted by COVID-19. While working within the guidance provided by the Italian Government and local health authorities, Avara is proud that the Liscate team has been capable of maintaining operations to support the continuity of supplies to deliver on their commitments to clients. This is because, throughout this pandemic, Avara has shared best practices and local recommendations across their network, implementing social distancing, shift change management, and cleaning practices, even before local authorities issued similar guidance. The company anticipates that some of these new guidelines will continue post-pandemic as best practices.
In addition, Avara has been contacted by several clients to request manufacturing of supplies needed to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients. These have included producing sterile drugs that support intensive care patients and manufacturing OSD products that are being tested for use with COVID-19 patients or which are in high demand due to stockpiling or shortages linked to global supply chain challenges.
Finally, in addition to drug innovations relevant to the development of a vaccine or drug product to treat the viral infection, Avara recognizes this pandemic has caused the entire industry and governments worldwide to reflect on the importance of “speed to market” for the biopharmaceutical industry. These governments’ understanding of the need for improvements to the existing regulatory approval process for bringing life-saving products to market — such as reducing timelines or streamlining the steps required — would be a welcome advance.