The next company I am going to highlight in the Illinois Pavilion is Vetter. Vetter is a great story for our community and it shows off one of our community’s strengths, which is our ability to attract foreign firms to set up US headquarters in the Chicago region.
Chicago has a lot of strategic advantages to attract further development by foreign firms, but I will save that for a future post.
Vetter is a contract development and manufacturing organization – otherwise known as a CDMO – that specializing in aseptic filling of syringes, cartridges and vials. Based in Germany, Vetter is a world heavyweight whose clientele includes the globe’s top-ten pharma/biotech firms, as well as small companies on the brink of creating great new therapies.
And in 2009, Vetter chose to set up its very first U.S. facility not in Boston, not in the Bay Area, but here in Chicago, at our own Illinois Science + Technology Park (which is actually in Skokie). In fact, Vetter built a brand new, state-of-the-art facility within ISTP’s walls, with the Park’s full cooperation. That’s the kind of partnership that is fast making ISTP a world-class community for life sciences organizations.
While Vetter’s overall services span from clinical development through commercial production, its Chicago facility focuses solely on early-stage products – mostly biologics, such as monoclonal antibodies, peptides and interferons. At Phase III, products are transferred to Vetter’s German facilities for large-scale manufacture.
The facility uses largely disposable components, to mitigate risk of contamination and eliminate lengthy cleaning validation. It also houses a first-of-its-kind, fully automated vial filler, specifically designed for clinical-stage, high-value biopharmaceuticals, with tubing lengths that help reduce API loss.
Says John Moore, a Vetter key account manager, in an excellent article by Pharmaceutical Processing on Vetter, its Development Service, and the Chicago facility:
With typically smaller amounts actually being produced [for clinical supplies], minimizing line losses is key. “In high-value biologics – every drop counts,” states Moore. “The amount required to fill a water bottle might be the end result of three to five years of development work and several million dollars.”
Why did Vetter choose to locate in Chicago? A centralized location, easy access via O’Hare, and a convenient time difference with colleagues in Germany. “Chicago is a wonderful community of dynamic life sciences companies and medical institutions,” Peter Soelkner, Vetter’s Managing Director, told me. “It’s an environment of innovation and mutual support.” As you’d expect, Vetter thought they’d attract mainly U.S.-based customers to their U.S. locale. But as it turns out, companies as far away as Israel and Korea have sought them out since they began full operations in 2011.
Vetter opened its doors just before the BIO 2010 Convention in Chicago, and they have been a great addition to our community. They are actively engaged in programing and education seminars, and I always like working with Vetter because you get to work not only with their local staff, but with their main office in Germany. The entire company is passionate about their commitment to quality and to partnership with their customers. I encourage you, if you are attending BIO 2013, to visit Vetter either at their booth at the Illinois Pavilion or at their booth #4063.
If you have a company you would like me to feature, please contact me. This is a conversation, not an editorial. Did I forget something, get it wrong or do you agree? Please Comment, Like, Re-Tweet and Share.