Investing to meet new commercial and clinical packaging demand while continuing to deliver for existing clients is a pillar of Sharp’s strategy for success.

During 2020, Sharp invested £1 million into an expansion project in Rhymney, UK, to add commercial packaging capabilities to an already successful clinical division.

One of the goals of the expansion was to transfer an existing commercial client, ROWA Pharmaceuticals Ltd, to the site from another facility in the Sharp network without disrupting supply and maintaining service.

Sharp was granted an MIA license for the facility, which meant the company could offer solid dose blistering and bottling primary packaging and labeling capabilities for commercial product, as well as for investigational medicinal products (IMP).

The expansion project also enabled Sharp to offer an enhanced presence in Europe for primary solid dose packaging activities to potential new clients, representing an additional service and revenue stream for the business.

The challenge

ROWA Pharmaceuticals – a long-standing client of Sharp – was being supported by the smallest Sharp facility in Oudeshaske, The Netherlands. In order to offer improved output efficiencies and capacity scalability, a decision was made to move the packaging and serialization services for ROWA to Sharp’s new, large-scale clinical and commercial facility at Rhymney, in the UK.

“Sharp is a leading contract packaging site for ROWA Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Both companies have worked very closely together over the past 10 years and Sharp is a very efficient, innovative, quality-driven organisation where they believe in delivering a first-class service to their customers.”

Joe Keane, General Manager, ROWA Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Due to the high volume of product required, it was vital for Sharp to be able to commit to an uninterrupted supply and therefore the first priority was to ensure total continuity of service to ROWA and their patients around the world. An extremely tight project timeline was developed which balanced the product demand of the client with the wind-down plan for the facility in Oudehaske. 16 weeks was allocated to manage the expansion of the Rhymney facility, transfer and qualify the necessary equipment and validate the packaging process in order to onboard ROWA to the Rhymney facility.

Rhymney UK
Rhymney, UK

Accommodating the new commercial production at Rhymney involved expanding the primary and secondary packaging areas without compromising the existing clinical trial capabilities being offered there.

The Sharp Solution

The foundation for the success of this project was open collaboration and communication. Aggressive but achievable milestones were agreed upon for the commercial expansion of the facility, to ensure ROWA’s expectations would be met.

The Sharp team oversaw a detailed design and construction project plan that would upgrade the Rhymney facility for ROWA – the first commercial blistering, carton packing and serialization client at the site – by June 2020.

  • Design and construction of 3 state-of-the-art primary packaging suites, with integrated automatic conveyor feeds to 3 large secondary packaging areas. Including:
    • Latest technology access control
    • Integrated building management and air handling capabilities
    • Fire safety systems
  • Installation and validation of new blister lines
  • Addition of carton line including ancillary equipment – laser jet printers, check weighing hardware, banding equipment, and case seal kits
  • Expansion of the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system and production scheduling tools to accommodate commercial volumes
  • Recruitment of a new team of engineers, project managers, and production and quality technicians to support and operate the new client portfolio

In parallel, Sharp’s Program Management and Quality teams spearheaded the on-boarding of ROWA into the Sharp UK facility, a process that included:

  • Introducing over 150 new finished goods SKUs, comprising of several thousand material parts to the Enterprise Resource Planning system
  • Qualifying multiple new vendors for supply of new materials
  • Creating new commercial SOPs and technical agreements

The Positive Outcome

ROWA Pharmaceuticals saw no interruption of their product supply as a result of the facility transfer and have been able to increase volumes and order frequency. The company is also benefitting from production improvements such as faster throughput time, equipment utilization and efficiency, as well as improved Right First Time (RFT) and On-Time delivery key performance indicators (KPIs).

In an uncertain environment, UK supplied materials also mitigated the impact to finished goods meaning no market disruption, no increase in value chain costs, and unit prices remained fixed.

By consolidating production in the UK, lower logistics cost and a reduction in duty paid as well as the commodity codes for imported and exported goods facilitated an improvement in ROWA’s bottom line.

A foundation for future success

This investment has allowed Sharp to develop its supply chain network and, in turn, offer more competitive pricing for existing and potential clients, both nationally and internationally.

From our world-class multi-phase manufacturing and packaging facility in Rhymney, we offer comprehensive and fully integrated supply chain services for both clinical and commercial clients.  Supporting pharma companies globally and locally, small to medium-sized or virtual organisations who may have less experience of the clinical supply chain or who need a packaging partner specialising in small volume, solid oral drug formats.

General Manager, Sharp UK

In addition to the new highly efficient, modern packaging services Sharp is intent on expanding further by introducing new serialization, aggregation and authentication equipment. This will drive future growth within the company for any new or existing customers.