For a non-expert reader, glassmaking could be seen as a commodity, a price-driven industry where innovation lies mainly in the development of energy-efficient furnaces that save energy.
This is far from the reality in the whole industry, and even more so in the manufacture of glass for the pharmaceutical industry, where innovation plays a key role, determining the successes and failures of the industry.
In fact, the glass industry develops finished products for the pharmaceutical sector with increasingly high performance in terms of chemical resistance and barrier properties, also thanks to the development and application of specialized coatings and treatments.
Bormioli Pharma, an international healthcare solutions provider manufacturing primary glass and plastic packaging for pharmaceutical use, is among the companies driving innovation in the industry, with various actions in place to ensure continued development in terms of manufacturing of glass, allowing the production of the highest quality bottles and containers.
Indeed, the company has made innovation an essential pillar of its corporate strategy, by setting up a brand new program, named Bormioli Pharma Invents, based on an Open Innovation approach.
This approach represents a real breakthrough for the pharmaceutical packaging industry, traditionally linked to internal R&D departments and processes, not accessible and unable to communicate with external stakeholders.
The advantages of open innovation – which consists in developing a distributed model, where the know-how is distributed between internal and external actors – are a significant reduction in costs coming from incoming open innovation, reducing the cost of development and generating new sources of revenue from spin-offs and licenses.
Regarding the specific research projects undertaken by Bormioli Pharma, a partnership has been established with the main Italian research center IMEM-CNR to develop external and internal coatings capable of increasing the performance of glass and is experimenting with an innovative treatment for making soda-lime glass bottles increasingly resistant to aggressive pharmaceutical formulations.
The company also funded a doctoral grant for a research project on the performance of glass containers during the sterilization process.
In fact, Bormioli Pharma’s activities in glass innovation began several years ago.
Among other achievements, Bormioli Pharma has developed innovative molded glass products, named Delta, with superior performance in terms of chemical stability, mechanical strength, aesthetics, and dimensional and thermal stability.
Thanks to a controlled production process resulting in a higher quality product, Delta vials are perfectly suited to house the most demanding parenteral drugs, such as vaccines, offering a robust alternative to glass vials.
The Delta project well represents how innovation can potentially address a real market challenge, such as the tube glass vial shortage of the past two years, ushering in effective paradigm shifts in the industry.