Historically, most Turkish cleanroom suppliers have focused on exports. But with an up-and-coming pharmaceutical industry being spurred by a global pandemic and a beneficial geographical location, this is quickly changing
This article is a quoted passage from Cleanroom Technology Magazine / August 2020. Written by Sophie Bullimore.
As the next host of the International Symposium on Contamination Control, it seems prudent to take a look at Turkey's cleanroom operations, both domestically and internationally. Though the event itself has been postponed for safety, the industry itself is still steaming ahead.
Mirroring the rest of the world, Turkey has seen up-regulation of many industries says Hasim Solmaz, ISCC organizer, ISPE member, Chairman of Cleanroom Technologies Society of Turkey, and General Manager of Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions. He explains that in various industries like veterinary products manufacturing and medical productions, new regulations have begun to come into place that now requires cleanrooms and controlled environments. This opens whole news sectors for not only cleanroom construction and HVAC system design companies but also all cleanroom-related equipment and consumables suppliers.
"Same as many other countries, biotechnology investments are also leading (industry) developments," says Solmaz. This can only be expected to increase as the pandemic persist. Globally, major weak links in the supply chain have been laid bare by this crisis, and many countries will now be looking to incentivize domestic production of pharmaceutical products, such as vaccines.
Though most of the world is taking a hard look at their pharmaceutical and medical supply chains, this is something the Turkish government has been keen on for quite a few years now. It has been supporting new technology investments with incentives related to R&D, new technologies, and pharmaceutical investments. "Medical equipment production, personalized medicine, stem cell technologies, and health tourism will open up new doors," enthuses Solmaz.
Many have also noted the strategically beneficial location of Turkey, as well as contacted Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. A country’s geographical location is an aspect that can’t be changed, and as such, this is one inherent benefit to those attempting to enter any/all of these markets.
Together these new sectors, beneficial location, and focus on growing a domestic biopharmaceutical market are creating many new opportunities for contamination control players.
Whilst there is huge potential for many domestic business opportunities beginning to appear, historically lots of Turkish cleanroom suppliers have mainly focused on exports.
Further evidence of this is Mikropor, a Turkish industrial filtration supplier, who have recently added the finishing touches to its new Michigan, US facility. Mikropor also exports to 140 countries including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, all of the EU, the Middle East, Australia, and some Far East countries. In fact, the company has appeared in Turkey’s list of top 1000 exporters since 2006.
Like all countries in the World, Turkey has been dealing with its own coronavirus outbreak. Most events were either canceled or postponed to the coming years. The International Confederation of Contamination Control Societies, ICCCS, was planning originally to hold the International Symposium on Contamination Control ISCC2020 in Antalya Turkey in September 2020. However, as Solmaz explains, this bi-annual event has now been postponed to 2022.
Taking the same approach, BIOEXPO 2020 was moved to September 2020 instead of its original date in April 2020. Many events globally had been postponed until September as, at the time, that was considered a safe timeframe. But the unprecedented natüre of the crisis and many other influences means the situation has endured far longer than expected. “Due to these ongoing situations worldwide, the September 2020 event will also now be an online event and the exhibition will be held in April 2021, “Solmaz adds.
“Biotechnology investments are leading industry developments
Speaking on Turkey’s handling of the virüs specifically, Solmaz says: “Thanks to domestic production capacities, we didn’t see any effect on filter production.” Alongside PPE and negative pressure capabilities, filters are another sector that is seeing hugely increased demand. “Prices were slightly increased due to raw material shortage fort he first couple of months but it has now recovered,” Solmaz explains. However, he does add that single-use equipment were really affected and both prices and supply cha,n are still very sensitive.
In a continent with so many closely packed countries, it is difficult not to compare. It has been no different with how governments have been dealing with the pandemic. Solmaz expresses positivity about his countries strategy and believes it will recover faster than many others. “From the day first, the Turkish Ministry of Health has been managing conditions very carefully and as of 1 June, most of the companies were back in business. Things are recovering fast and I di believe if we can avoid 2nd wave, we will be back on track in less than 12 months from now.”
Though that has been a huge amount of back and forth over the last few months about what measures are worth taking to reduce risk, there now seems to be at least a general consensus across Europe. The best practice is to wear a face mask and practice social distancing in order to maintain businesses by staying safe during the pandemic. “Until we have a solid solution such as vaccines or medicine for COVID-19 this will be the way,” says Solmaz.
Though right now it is very easy to focus on the doom and gloom, there is still a lot of progress being made in the cleanroom industry. Turkey’s up and coming status in pharmaceuticals mean they are keen to capitalize on advancements in the contamination control sector.
A huge topic of interest for cleanroom operators going forward is rapid microbial detection. “Rapid microbial detection will address current challenges in microbiological air sampling and shortened the duration of product release,” says Solmaz. “Once it becomes affordable technology fort he industry, I am sure it will be a revolutionary solution.”
However, like many in his field, Solmaz is being cautious in his excitement. “The technology needs more advancement to correlate CFU and cell count data.”
When discussing future tech, the elephant in the room is always at what expense. As the founding chair of the Cleanroom Technologies Society of Turkey, Solmaz’s focus can have wide-reaching effects, and his efforts to support energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction in cleanrooms are a very positive sign. “In 2019, the ISO Technical Committee published a new standard, “ISO 14644-16 Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments – Energy efficiency in cleanrooms and separative devices”. Once widely applied, this standard will address many points and cleanrooms will become eco-friendly. In addition to this, instead of using single-use equipment, re-usable cleanroom garments can help to reduce our carbon footprint,” says Solmaz. “Considering the size of the industry and Daily usage of single-use equipment, this is a huge impact.”
As a chairman of the Cleanroom Technologies Society of Turkey (CTS), Solmaz knows the importance of working together fort he good of the industry. “(CTS) started in 2015 with “Education, Collaboration, Sharing” as our motto. Our aim is to strengthen bonds between cleanroom industry professionals with collaborative activities while encouraging new industry members with education and increase the connection between stake-holders. Within 5 years, CTS has organized international events, trained over 1000 industry Professionals, and represented Turkey in international organizations such as ICCCS and ISO TC209.”
With momentum behind the country and the group, optimism should lead the way.