By Meg Flippin, Benzinga
Sharps Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: STSS) is an innovative medical device and pharmaceutical packaging company that seems positioned for growth through its commercial-ready, patented copolymer syringe products. The company recently announced a pending asset purchase agreement to acquire the InjectEZ specialty copolymer syringe manufacturing facility and a 10-Year purchase agreement for over $400 million from Nephron Pharmaceuticals, a privately held healthcare company. Sharps Technology has a stated mission to be a leader in the copolymer prefillable syringe system segment as the pharmaceutical industry shifts toward using these applications.
The market opportunity that Sharps has identified, through target customers in the large-cap pharmaceutical and specialty biotech segments of the market, represents a significant opportunity for the company with opportunities for growth and profitability. The company says its advanced syringe offerings are easy to use and have built-in features to protect a person from needle stick injuries, blood-borne infections like hepatitis B and C and HIV. Vaccinations, medicine delivery and newly approved drug administration via the biotech industry are leading applications for Sharps syringes, and its a market growing at a CAGR of 11.95% from 2022 to 2030.
Sharps Differentiated Products Are Stronger Than Glass
When it comes to prefilled syringes, not all of them are created equal. Glass syringes have been the de facto standard but they have deficiencies that need to be overcome whether in a hospital setting or at home. For starters, glass syringes are prone to breakage as compared to Sharps COC (cyclic olefin copolymer) based prefilled syringes. Sharps copolymer products address many of the other historic deficiencies that glass-based syringes experience in the field. At present, COC syringes are comparable to glass in terms of barrier quality, long term drug stability and imperviousness to oxygen and water vapor contamination. They can exceed glass syringes in breakage rates, drug shelf life, cold chain storage, and cost to manufacture.
Sharps product pipeline and market strategy will include a broad range of sizes, silicon free systems that address contamination issues for the healthcare market, dual chamber systems that improve drug shelf life while reducing unnecessary packaging and customized solutions for systems that serve the growing autoinjector segment.
To further the market, Sharps recently inked a deal with Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. to make these advanced syringe systems. Nephron is a leader in contract manufacturing of generic medications and 503B outsourcing that includes extensive use of prefillable sterile syringes. Under the terms of the deal, Sharps will acquire Nephrons InjectEZ specialty syringe manufacturing facility for $50 million. This includes a 10-year purchase agreement for over $400 million from Nephron Pharmaceuticals for Sharps next-generation copolymer prefillable syringe systems.
Understanding The Prefillable Syringe Market
The prefillable syringe market is a sub-industry within the healthcare sector that is growing faster than GDP at a 4x multiple of GDP. The U.S. market has seen growth over the past few years, driven by reducing hospital errors and administration injuries, increased use of biologics and biosimilars that require administration by injection, and need for more efficient drug delivery systems. Injectables were 37% of the global drug delivery market in 2017 and increased to 44% by 2021, even before COVID vaccines further increased syringe demand.
Prefillable syringe capacity is at a premium, due to the global lack of capacity, increasing demand and technical challenges in production. Specifically, prefillable COC syringe demand growth is outstripping industry capacity. Additionally, these products are increasingly being used in the delivery of biologic drugs, biosimilars and in the development of new formulations of existing drugs. Larger molecules are becoming more complex and require exceptional delivery mechanisms.
Copolymer Prefillable Syringes: A Niche Market That Seems To Be Taking Off
The prefilled syringe market has growth prospects within the healthcare sector and Sharps will serve both Nephron and other pharmaceutical and healthcare customers within the copolymer segment of the market. With a lack of available capacity for these products and the technical challenges in producing them, Sharps says that it is at an advantage in the marketplace. The company has assembled a management team with a wealth of experience in developing copolymer syringes, which many rivals cant claim. Thats evident with its Nexent line of syringes made of advanced polymer material for improved long-term drug stability and preserved efficacy. The material is also break-resistant and includes a robust container closure system utilizing common, industry standard rubber formulations, making it easier to pass regulatory scrutiny. Sharps sees a big market opportunity with its copolymer prefillable syringes including biologics and cold chain vaccines, serving potential customers in Japan, Europe, and North America, three regions with increasing demand through their rapidly aging populations.
With this landmark purchase agreement in place for our copolymer prefillable syringes, we will accelerate the realization of our shared goals, transition the company to revenue, and propel Sharps into a new phase of growth and sustainability, commented Robert Hayes, Sharps CEO. At the forefront of our growth trajectory are our copolymer-based prefillable syringe systems, a sector that is experiencing escalating market demand and is poised to shape the future of Sharps Technology.
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