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Vetter establishes Japan office to bolster Asian inroads
TOKYO & RAVENSBURG, Germany—Vetter, one of the global leaders in the aseptic manufacturing of drug-delivery systems servicing the top 10 pharma/biotech companies worldwide along with mid-size firms and emerging startups, has announced the opening of a new business entity in Tokyo. The announcement of the new Japanese office was made toward the end of 2015 at a ceremony attended by executives of customer and partner companies with a presence in the Asian region, as well as Vetter and industry executives. Hiroaki Suzuki, in his role as business development manager for Vetter Pharma International Japan K.K., will lead Vetter’s business activities in Japan, reporting to Chervee Ho based in Singapore in her role as director of key account management Asia Pacific.
The new office underlines the importance of Japan for Vetter’s business activities. As the second-largest single pharmaceutical market, Japan is home to a number of leading global companies that offer a promising injectable pipeline. It is also a point of departure for several established Japanese companies for increasing their global reach. As such, the new office will support customer relations and aid in the development of new business within Japan while strengthening the global position of Vetter, particularly in selected Asia Pacific markets. As a strategic partner, Vetter supports its worldwide clients through every phase of their drug product’s lifecycle, from early product development to launch to commercial supply.
“Our presence in Japan will help to increase awareness of Vetter’s services in this growing healthcare market by presenting our expertise and market position onsite,” noted Managing Director Peter Soelkner. “Following the creation of our Asia Pacific hub in Singapore last year, the new office is a further development, establishing a dedicated presence in the most important single market of the region. This activity affords us the opportunity to strengthen personal contacts with national audiences.”
“Vetter’s decision to expand their presence in the Asia Pacific region and to open their first office in Japan is a strong message of their commitment to service the needs of this important market,” said Dr. Hitoshi Kuboniwa, senior vice president and general manager of Pharmaceutical Technology Division at Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. “As a trusted partner, we appreciate that step, wishing Vetter as a company in general, and Ms. Ho and Mr. Suzuki in particular, a promising start for their onsite activities in Japan.”
The company was founded in 1950 by Helmut Vetter and was originally called the “Apotheker Vetter & Co. Arzneimittel GmbH Ravensburg.” In 1958, Helmut Vetter opened a pharmacy and sealed the drugs it manufactured in air- and water-tight packaging. In 1965, his growing enterprise began operating as a contract manufacturer resource packaging dry and liquid drugs. The company manufactured primarily contact lens solutions and eye drops. In 1975, the company turned its focus to aseptically prefilled syringes. Vetter founded its first foreign subsidiary in the United States in 1983, Vetter Pharma Turm Inc. (Yardley, Pa.), to handle sales in the United States and Canada. The following year, the company was renamed Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG. In 1988, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Vetter’s Ravensburg facility approval to operate, which opened the U.S. market. Two years later, the company invented the dual-chamber syringe, which remains a patented product. Freeze-dried (lyophilized) drug resides in one chamber; liquid in the other. Pushing the plunger mixes the two, reconstituting the drug. The technology prolongs shelf-life, facilitates accurate dosing, and enables patients to self-administer.
In 1996, a second German production site was established, in Langenargen, and received approval to operate by the FDA two years later. In 2004, the company started construction on a second major site in Ravensburg. Completed at the end of 2006, the Ravensburg Vetter South production facility received permission by the regional board of Tuebingen (the local government) to begin operating at the start of 2007; the FDA gave its production approval in early 2008. At the end of 2007, work began at Ravensburg Vetter South on a new facility to house secondary packaging and began operations in May 2009. At the same site, an analytical laboratory was established in the same year. Also in 2009, the company founded its sales subsidiary Vetter Pharma International GmbH, and named its U.S. sales subsidiary Vetter Pharma International USA Inc. In December 2009, the company dedicated its first U.S. manufacturing facility, located in suburban Chicago. There, Vetter supports preclinical through Phase 2 products to fill syringes, cartridges and vials for use in clinical studies. The facility is an expansion of Vetter Development Service. In May 2012, Vetter completed its new Center for Visual Inspection and Logistics. With a number of innovative technologies for producing electricity and promoting efficient use of resources, Vetter continues to set high standards in terms of sustainability at its Ravensburg Vetter West facility.
Vetter employs approximately 3,400 employees and is headquartered in Ravensburg, Germany, with facilities both in Germany and the United States.
“For more than 35 years, the name Vetter has been synonymous with high-quality, aseptically prefilled drug-delivery systems. With our office opening in Japan, we continue to build upon that history with a further demonstration of our strategy to better service the needs of our growing customer base worldwide, including Asia,” said Udo J. Vetter, chairman of the advisory board and member of the owner family.
Vetter is a premier contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and a global leader in the fill and finish of aseptically prefilled syringe systems, cartridges and vials. Headquartered in Ravensburg, Germany, with facilities in Germany and the United States, the company provides state-of-the-art manufacturing, from early clinical development through commercial filling and packaging of parenteral drugs. The CDMO’s extensive experience covers a broad range of complex compounds, including monoclonal antibodies, peptides and interferons. Vetter supports its customers every step of the way, guiding their products through development, regulatory approval, launch and lifecycle management.