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Silicon Syringes

Pre-filled syringes have for a number of years been the focus of the parenteral drug developer and they are there to stay. They have enjoyed tremendous market development, a process that has not yet come to an end. While Europe traditionally took the largest share of prefilled syringe applications, the US market is now quickly catching up at a considerable pace. Numbers may depend on the source, but the total worldwide market for prefilled syringes has been estimated as three billion in 2010. Growth rates for prefilled syringes are still double-digit numbers. Syringes in glass have an established position, seeing a yearly growth rate of 10 per cent; for plastic syringes that, relative to glass, are at the start of their market acceptance, numbers of 20 per cent are quoted.

The rapid development of prefilled syringes is founded on numerous factors. Among the most important of these are its dose accuracy, its low dead volume – which, especially for expensive biotech drugs, leads to considerable savings – the possibility to extend the product life cycle of a drug and to offer pharmaceutical product differentiation, and of course the convenience and ease of use for medical personnel. Another reason that is related to the market is the advent of more biologicals in the R&D pipelines of major drug companies – biologicals that can only be administered via a parenteral route.

Many things can be said about prefillable syringes, and it is impossible to be exhaustive. Therefore, this article will deal with some more topical discussions, with particular focus on the siliconisation of syringes or of syringe components.

WHY SILICONISATION?

In order to be functional – that is, to deliver a drug dose to a patient in a correct and adequate way – two components of prefilled syringes typically are siliconised...

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Dr Renaud Janssen graduated as a chemical engineer from Leuven University, Belgium. After finishing his doctoral study, he joined Janssen Pharmaceutica, where he worked in the Department of Chemical Development and Production. In 1988 he joined Helvoet Pharma, where he has held various functions in R&D, technical support and quality. Renaud is currently heading Helvoet Pharma’s global department of Technical Support.
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Dr Renaud Janssen
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