My arm is still sore.
A couple of days ago, I took my kids to the doctor so we could all get our flu shots. The girls were lucky and received their dose of vaccine through an inhalable nose spray. Dad, however, got the needle.
For safety reasons, the injectable medicines used on my family, and most likely yours, are free of contaminants because of aseptic processing. That is the process by which a sterile (or aseptic) product is packaged in a sterile container.
One of the world leaders in the aseptic filling process is Vanrx from British Columbia.
Vanrx Pharmasystems was founded in 2007 with roots in the biotech industry. “We had a core group of people and we were developing cutting edge technology” says Chris Procyshyn, CEO of Vanrx “but the company we were working for started making mistakes, eventually it went south and we started Vanrx”. Having already developed processes and products for a wide range of therapies, they noticed areas of the industry that hadn’t seen innovation in a long time. “Medicines were being made in old facilities using outdated equipment and using old ideas.”
Their goal was to redesign the aseptic filling process from the ground up.
“One of the challenges we faced was that the market hadn’t realized the problems we were finding solutions for,” says Procyshyn “and that was the level of contamination found in the filling systems of the day”.
DO THE ROBOT
“The chief source of contamination is the large, hairy mammal in the room,” laughs Procyshyn “so we looked at other clean industries like semiconductors and the manufacturing of microchips, and found that automation was the answer.”
One of the reasons the Vanrx system delivers the highest level of aseptic assurance in the industry is the use of robotic technology.
By automating operations, the reliance on personal interaction and the risk to sterility assurance is eliminated.
One of the largest challenges when working with robotics in aseptic processing is designing robots that can be effectively sterilized. Vanrx isolated robotics are outfitted in custom-shaped 316L stainless steel that facilitates decontamination. The removal of glove ports also ensures product integrity by eliminating human interaction and possible aseptic compromise.
HOME OR AWAY
“90% of our business is currently international” says Chris Procyshyn, CEO of Vanrx “We hope to have more growth domestically but right now we are seeing growth in the US, the Baltic States and India, where injectable medicines are increasing in demand.”
With the majority of their business outside of Canada, working with EDC has been a real benefit for Vanrx. Not only for helping secure $1.5 million in financing, but according to Procyshyn, “EDC was able to help us navigate the complexities of working in those markets. That is invaluable.”
Q&A WITH VANRX CEO, CHRIS PROCYSHYN
What product did you/your company first export?
SA 25 Filling system
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
How has the trading world changed since you started in business?
What is the #1 thing new SMEs need to know about export and trade?
There is no substitute for getting out and seeing it in action. Get out, make face-to-face contact with your customers and understand the realities of their individual lives and markets.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on your business?
Anything non-structured and non-sterile. Usually I’m in a boat trying to catch salmon…but mostly not catching a thing!