BD injects $100m into Nebraska insulin syringe plant

Image: iStock/dina2001

Becton Dickinson says it is upgrading equipment and technology at its Holdrege manufacturing facility to better serve the global diabetes market.

The site in Holdrege, Nebraska produces over two billion insulin syringes per year – or around 250,000 per hour, nonstop – but a $100m (€89m) investment will increase capacity further, according to a BD spokesman.

“We aren’t disclosing specifics around the equipment or capacity for competitive reasons, but we can tell you that the new equipment and technology upgrades help improve overall manufacturing efficiency and helps ensure we continue to stay on the leading edge of insulin syringe production,” Troy Kirkpatrick told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.

“The insulin syringes manufactured in Holdrege for sold through pharmacies directly to people with diabetes who inject insulin as part of their diabetes management regimen. So we are adding additional capacity to serve the broad diabetes market.”

The 350,000 sq ft facility currently employs over 650 workers and makes 20 different BD drug delivery and medical products.

While BD does not manufacture the insulin for these delivery devices, Kirkpatrick said the firm works with a number of pharma companies to develop pre-fillable syringes for patients with specific therapies.

“We also have other types of collaborations, where we manufacture a specific insulin syringe for a specific type of insulin,” he added. “We are currently collaborating with Eli Lilly on a new U-500 syringe that will be prescribed for use with Humulin R U-500 insulin, manufactured by Eli Lilly.”

BD has a long history in manufacturing insulin syringes, having first produced such devices in 1924. More recently, the firm has been developing systems with autoshields and smaller needles for safety and convenience.

And according to Kirkpatrick, for patients with diabetes, the “type of needle and proper injection technique can be just as important for outcomes as using the right type of insulin and diet.

“Syringe and needle selection, along with proper injection technique are a very important part of proper diabetes management.”

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