Blister Thermoforming Line for Tablets

Abiogen Pharma is a small gem of the Made-in-Italy name envied by the whole world. Massimo Di Martino, Chairman and CEO, founded the company by restoring the roots of an illustrious past: that of the historical Gentili Institute of Pisa, formerly the Galenico Institute, founded by his great grandfather, Alfredo Gentili, and later sold in 1997 to the American company, Merck Sharp & Dohme. Over the following 20 years, Abiogen became one of pioneers of the Italian pharmaceutical industry, growing at a national and international level, aiming to produce pharmaceuticals of excellence and accessible to everyone.

Abiogen Pharma presently covers three integrated areas of business: Research & Development, the production of its own brand and subcontracted pharmaceuticals and commercialisation of its own brand and licensed pharmaceuticals. Abiogen Pharma offers its partners the technological capabilities available in the various strategic sectors of Production, Pharmaceutical Development, Purchasing, Quality Unit, Brands and Patents, Regulatory Affairs, Licensing, Legal Affairs, Logistics and Customer Care, as well as a network of specialised and top quality suppliers.

Its numbers and strategies prove the image of a solid and deep-rooted Italian company, which is focusing more and more on the substantial opportunities offered by foreign markets. Exports, which in 2014 represented about 3.5% of the total turnover, will grow to 15% by 2020. This leap forward will be made possible through indirect internationalization, which will allow Abiogen to create partnerships with companies having solid commercialisation channels in the target countries, especially USA and China.

To prove the indispensible value of "Made in Italy" products, the production facilities will always remain within Italian boundaries. The whole production cycle is indeed carried out from start to finish at the production factory situated in the industrial area of Pisa. Built in two and half years, backed by an investment of 40 million Euro, the Headquarters of Abiogen has been set up with very high quality standards. 220 people using cutting-edge machinery produced 36 million pieces in 2015 in a variety of pharmaceutical forms. One of the strongholds of Abiogen’s competitive model is its ability to present an array of products with an average price of less than 4 Euro, thus managing to express the value and obtain marginality within a price range that is normally not of interest to other companies, but still maintaining the entire production cycle in-house.

This strategy – which is fulfilled by creating therapeutic solutions that are accessible to the highest number of people possible – has contributed in winning some important public recognitions: in 2015, Abiogen obtained several important awards: the "Promoting Excellence" Award, assigned by the Cassa di Risparmio banking institute of Florence, which classified the company among the top eight Small and Medium Enterprises of Tuscany; it was awarded by the Small and Medium Enterprises monitoring centre in 2015 as an Excellent Business and it won the title of National Champion 2015/2016 by EBA (European Business Award association).

Massimo Di Martino and his team continue their work in the meantime. One of the future targets is to commercialise a New Chemical Entity in the USA for a rare disease in partnership with a multinational business. A clinical development project is presently underway in America and also in Europe; after having obtained all the approvals, an FDA-approved station will be set up in the facilities of Ospedaletto to supply the finished product.

Technical focus

Just like the Marchesini Group, Abiogen Pharma is capable of designing the product and this means that, starting from the restrictions, targets and needs of the customer, the company from Pisa is able to elaborate exclusive solutions at its laboratories. Just like the best of Italian tailoring traditions, this translates into making a “made-to-measure” product that fits to perfection, whether it be a specific drug or a unique machine capable of packaging it.

One of the latest Marchesini lines purchased by Abiogen is Integra 320. It is a mix of innovation of the best available Italian technologies. The machine pitch control system, the cartoning section and the carton opening and product insertion system contribute in boosting production performance up to 320 blisters and more than 260 cartons a minute. All this is incorporated in a very small footprint, thanks to the integration of the blister thermoforming and carton packaging phases in just one compact line. A three-axes Robocombi with sucker pick-up head, patented by Marchesini, connects the two stations and minimises size change-over operations. The units are no longer made up of several single parts but of integrated blocks, which are replaced in just one go.

Winning features of Integra 320 line:

  • Conceived already pre-arranged to be installed in separate work areas;
  • Innovative machine pitch control system;
  • Block size change-over, which is simpler and quicker, with fewer mechanical adjustments;
  • The balcony structure of the line makes cleaning much easier and helps to preserve product integrity, as well as offering a better view of the individual processes thanks to large transparent guards. All in compliance with GMP standards;
  • A wide choice of product infeed systems with independent drives that follow the movement of the film. The pieces are all with quick-release couplings to guarantee speedy size change-overs and assembly precision;
  • New dust extraction system with particle separation;
  • Flat and continuous-motion sealing with film tracking to seal at low temperatures;
  • An even more efficient perforation and coding station with accurate management of rejects in special separate containers;
  • Direct coupling with Robocombi units;
  • New cartoning section and innovative carton opening and product insertion system for high production rates: over 260 cartons a minute;
  • Product insertion unit with pushers equipped with counter-pushers and independent drives. 

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