Q&A with Isabelle Constant

Isabelle Constant, Technoflex 

Isabelle Constant is the Director of Research and Development at Technoflex, a leading manufacturer of flexible containers for intravenous drugs. As the regulated specifications for injection bags are increasingly tighter, Technoflex has a reputation for differentiating its bags through innovation and product design.

In her talk at Connect in Pharma, entitled “How to better control the unknown factors of innovative developments and accelerate them”, Isabelle will discuss how her work overseeing R&D teams involved in materials, design and process integration has given her insight on how to build innovation into the process of biopharmaceutical production. 

Ahead of Connect in Pharma, Isabelle shares insights on this shifting landscape of the biopharmaceutical industry.

CiP: What are the main trends regarding innovations in packaging solutions?

[Isabelle:] Drug development is facing a growing number of challenges in terms of material compatibilities. For example, research on the inert and barrier properties of materials for drug delivery systems is an important area of development. 

Concerning design, we need to focus on the ability of patients, healthcare staff and pharmacists to use the product safely, whether the medicine is designed for hospital or at home use. 

Process integration [a holistic approach to design and operation that emphasises the unity of the process] faces ever changing demands around quality in an evolving regulatory environment.

At the same time, we need to be aware of a push towards ecologically-friendly, sustainable design, keeping in mind that plastic remains the best solution for IV therapeutic containers today.

CiP: How have client needs changed? What are the biggest trends in the market affecting demands for packaging solutions? 

[Isabelle:] The growth in personalised medicines is pushing manufacturers to adapt their batch production methods.
The new generation of drugs need to be filled in an aseptic environment, and this requires a high level of packaging integrity and quality, especially in term of bacterial contamination. That means we need to deliver sterilised containers usable in an aseptic environment.
The new biologics are requiring manufacturers to develop highly complex and specific materials with the best balance between multi-layers film for their barrier properties and inertia to limit interactions. 

CiP: What are the future challenges and opportunities?

[Isabelle:] One of the most important opportunities companies are exploring is how to improve their flexibility to develop and produce adapted and customised product for each specific molecule and their applications, in a way that includes all the necessary regulatory requests.

CiP: How much of a role does the drive towards environmentally sustainable solutions play? What does sustainability in packaging mean to you? 

[Isabelle:] Companies in the pharmaceutical sector are of course aware about the impact of the plastic use on our future. Nevertheless, as of today plastic is still the best solution for drug containers due to its inertia and capability to be barrier against things like 02, CO2, humidity, UV, etc. 
By the nature of what we do – supporting people who save lives — we are concerned by the topic of sustainability. Our product development process relies on internal eco-design guide with a clear roadmap. As a major stakeholder in the field of the healthcare plastics processing, we need to be engaged in this topic and apply it to our daily work. 

CiP: What changes will we see in primary packaging research and development in the future?  What role does or will Artificial Intelligence play in intelligent packaging? 

[Isabelle:] Because customisation will be driven by a growth in personal medicines and patient autonomy, the traceability and control of medicines will be major factors. 
I can predict at least three mains axis: 1) storage management (including issues of traceability, end of life alert, automation flow, etc.), 2) the management of risks (getting the right drug, right patient, right time, right dose, etc all in order) and 3) the management of quality (this includes issues surrounding product stability, environment storage control, authentication, identification, etc). 
All this means a lot of data will need to be managed through AI, and it also means attention and energy will be needed to address the passive and active components to generate this data.

CiP: What are you looking forward to about Connect in Pharma?

[Isabelle:] I am looking forward to sharing opinions, state of the art insights and vision with my peers. The pandemic is still with us, and I look forward to discussing what we can learn from that experience and how it might affect the future of our work.
 
 

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