Exova (Camberley), formerly named Bodycote Prova, is a contract development organisation offering laboratory and related services to the pharmaceutical and biotech markets, with clients ranging from small high-tech companies to large pharmaceutical corporations. Exova’s highly qualified staff, many of whom have experience with leading healthcare companies, recently moved into a new state-of-the-art, purpose-built manufacturing and packaging facility in Camberley, Surrey.
The company operates under GMP conditions to manufacture and supply investigational medicinal products for early-phase clinical studies, complementing Exova’s formulation development and analytical chemistry services. Facilities are available to manufacture, package, label and despatch capsules, oral solutions, oral suspensions, creams, gels and ointments.
One of the most important instruments in the new facility is a SADE SP-B40 Benchtop weight sorter from CI Precision, which is being used to check that all capsules are within the permissible weight tolerance. Any that are outside the tolerance are rejected automatically to ensure that only acceptable products are shipped to customers.
Gill Clarke, Head of Development at Exova, explains why the weight sorter is so necessary:
“Typically batches consist of 6000 size 2 to size 0 capsules, though we are anticipating processing a batch of 12,000 in the near future. Manual weight sorting is clearly unfeasible for these quantities, plus the automated sorter gives us high accuracy and added confidence from eliminating the scope for human error.”
An alternative weight sorter was considered, but the SADE was the preferred model. Gill Clarke states:
“The SADE has a higher bowl capacity and higher sorting speed, yet it is still a compact instrument that sits comfortably on a benchtop. I and my staff have used SADE sorters elsewhere in the past, and they are almost an industry standard. We had a good demonstration of the instrument so, having considered all the factors, we had no hesitation in placing an order.”
The SADE SP-B40 Benchtop weight sorter has the capability to be connected to a computer network, but Exova currently uses it as a standalone instrument with a printer connected locally. Amit Wagadia, a Formulation Scientist, says he finds the weight sorter is very user-friendly:
“It only takes a few minutes to strip the instrument down for cleaning, less than 10 minutes to work through the menus to set it up, then a couple of minutes to calibrate it. This ease of use is important to us as a contract manufacturer, because every batch run on the instrument is different. The fact that no two batches are the same also explains why we have not yet used the built-in product/method library. Overall, the instrument has been excellent, and the support from CI Precision has been really good.”
To complement the SADE SP-B40 Benchtop instrument, Exova also purchased from CI Precision a Validation Support Documentation pack, an air compressor and a Service Agreement.
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