Horizon engineers turned entrepreneurs expand global footprint to the US
27 October 2015
Founded in 2010 by a small group of experienced engineers in response to a growing need from the pharma and biopharma sector for specialist engineering services, Horizon specialises in engineering solutions for the fill-finish, primary, secondary and tertiary packaging elements of the manufacturing life cycle.
The company has developed from an ambitious start-up to a team of 50 plus highly skilled engineers, operating in the life science industry. Headquartered in Westport, with a sister office in Dublin, the company will expand its global footprint with the announcement of a new office in Philadelphia in the coming weeks.
In the five years since the company was formed, it has grown an impressive list of global blue-chip clients in the life science sector. Following successful projects with these clients in Ireland and across Europe, Horizon was invited to provide engineering expertise to a number of manufacturing plants in North America.
Now with an established client base in Texas, North Carolina and Canada, the company decided that developing a permanent presence in the US was the step-change needed to grow a sustainable business in North America where its core expertise is in high demand.
Aiden Corcoran, CEO of Horizon, explains the decision to locate in Philadelphia: “We invested significant time in assessing the North American market and researching preferred locations to establish our office.
“Philidelphia is a renowned life science powerhouse and is home to world-class research institutes and hundreds of life science companies, including many innovative start-ups and an amazing cluster of pharma and biopharma plants in the region.
“Our decision was also influenced by the welcome and support we have received from the economic development agencies and Irish-American business community in Philidelphia.”
Horizon, also known as Team Horizon, operates under three divisions: project engineering, contract services and new product development. The goal for the new US office is to first develop the project engineering division of the business.
Specialising in aseptic fill-finish, oral dose, primary and secondary packaging and serialisation, and within this commissioning and qualification (C&Q), the engineering team, who are made up of experienced engineers and recognised experts, have project-managed more than €250 million in capital projects over the past four years.
Horizon’s growing reputation and success was recognised earlier this year when it was announced as the winner of the Services Category at the SFA National Small Business Awards.
Solving industry challenges – serialisation (track and trace)
Serialisation, also known as track and trace, is the methodology used to ensure that the saleable unit of a drug product can be tracked and traced from the pharma facility to the point of dispense.
This is one of the major drug anti-counterfeiting measures being implemented by governments around the world and a major challenge for the pharmaceutical industry with pending deadlines for implementation.
In the US, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2013. This sets out a three-phase implementation process for all drug manufacturers. Phase two of this process requires unique serialisation numbers to be implemented in 2017 and manufacturers will be required to barcode each pharmaceutical product down to the lowest saleable unit. In Europe, the Falsified Medicines Directive has also set similar deadlines.
As serialisation specialists, Horizon has project-managed a number of serialisation studies and implementations in pharma plants across the world. One of these was a serialisation study for 35 packaging lines in 10 countries for a global pharmaceutical company to establish the design solutions, cost and time-lined project plans for the solution implementation. This expertise is much sought after and demand can only grow in Europe and the US as pharma companies start to address these important regulatory changes.
Research and development
Investment in new product development is at the core of Horizon’s ethos. A key component of its US expansion, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, and possibly Horizon’s most exciting development to date, is the US launch of Scopefish.
This is a revolutionary software solution designed to reduce the time taken to generate URS (user requirement specifications) documentation, a regulatory requirement in the sector. As Corcoran explains: “Up to now, when pharma companies are preparing a detailed specification for a piece of manufacturing equipment they are planning to procure, it has to compile a lengthy and time-consuming URS.
“This requires input from many functional areas of the business including operations, engineering, quality, validation and finance. This usually takes between two to six weeks and involves a significant amount of input from staff and also leads to cumbersome highly detailed and lengthy documents, all of which involve significant costs and resource time.
We have developed bespoke software which completes this same process and integrates this wide range of complex and collaborative inputs in as little as 72 hours.”
As part of the company’s contract services division, Horizon recruits and places suitably qualified and experienced engineers either on a short-term or long-term basis to address the capacity or capability needs of its clients. One of Horizon’s key strengths is its commitment to its values: Engineering: creating solutions to overcome its clients’ challenges; Teamwork: work together and Passion: a culture of high energy, confidence and effort in all it does.
Horizon ensures that these values are carried through to the manufacturing plants of its clients. The quality and commitment of the Horizon staff continues to be one of its most valuable assets.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/10/27/horizon-engineers-turned-entrepreneurs-expand-global-footprint-to-the-us/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Horizon.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Horizon-300x300.jpgBiomanufacturing,pharma,research,United States