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Diagnostic fluids switch to plastic containers (sidebar)

From food to pharmaceuticals

Thus far, bioMérieux is the first medical company to use the new multilayer plastic bottles from Owens-Illinois Plastics Group. But O-I is confident that others will follow, once stability tests are completed.

“bioMérieux has been a wonderful first-mover partner,” raves Bill Negrini, vice president and healthcare business manager for O-I’s plastics group. “They made the acquisition of Organon Teknika right in the middle of this development, but no one missed a beat.”

Negrini admits that it’s difficult to injection/blow-mold multilayer containers, and O-I uses its SurShot™ technology that was first commercialized for food containers. Along with the polycarbonate/nylon/PC bottles for bioMérieux, the company can also use PET and Ticona’s Topas® cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) for the inner and outer layers. Along with nylon, middle layers can also be COC, and O-I is working with ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer. COC was selected for its excellent moisture-barrier properties, which is critical with freeze-dried or lyophilized products, Negrini says.

For the BacT/ALERT containers, nylon was selected for its gas and oxygen barriers because bioMérieux pulls a vacuum on each container before sealing.

The vacuum, says Louise Grant, senior U.S. marketing manager for microbiology at bioMerieux, is important in obtaining the patient sample. “The medical professional can use a double-needle ‘butterfly’ device,” she says. “One needle goes into the patient and the other into our culture bottle. The vacuum in our container literally draws the blood from the patient and into our bottle.”

Although most of the BacT/ALERT products are for blood, bioMérieux also has products that can check the sterility of high-acid food products, such as tomato paste and fruit juices.

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