Two years after going global, Australian healthcare company Medical Developments International (MDI) which manufactures the acute pain killer Penthrox (commonly known as ‘the green whistle’) has opened a new facility in Melbourne

[Music plays and CSIRO logo appears and then images flash through of empty bottles moving, a female in a lab and bottles moving through a machine on a conveyer belt]

Narrator: CSIRO have been a fantastic resource for MDI. 

[Image shows the bottles being removed from the conveyer belt and then the camera zooms out to show the bottles moving around in a filling machine and then the image changes to show a female looking at a computer screen]

Being a small company we don’t often have the ability to invest in a lot of research and development. 

[Image changes to show the bottles being picked up off the conveyer belt and stacked in a plastic container and then the image changes to show the capped bottles moving over a rolling conveyer belt and then being labelled]

There’s a lot of resources, a lot of equipment that would have to be brought into the four walls here at MDI to be able to support such a large research programme. 

[Image changes to show the labelled bottles being inspected and then the image changes to show the narrator talking to the camera in front of Penthrox boxes stacked on shelves]

Penthrox is an analgesic.  It’s a fast onsetting pain reliver.  It’s been used significantly in the ambulance services in Australia for many years for treating traumatic pain. 

[Image changes to show a Penthrox bottle being opened and poured into an inhaler, the inhaler being rubbed between the hands and then the Penthrox being inhaled]

It’s not administered through IV.  It’s a non-opiate, so it’s a non-narcotic.  It doesn’t have any side effects with regards to ability to be abused.  

[Music plays and images move through of Penthrox bottles on a rolling conveyer belt]

We’ve recently sold into the UK

[Camera zooms out to show the machine the bottles are moving through and then the camera zooms in on the bottles dropping off the rolling conveyer belt]

and we’ve also… looking at selling into parts of Europe, particular two countries are France and Belgium. 

[Camera zooms out to show the Penthrox bottles moving along a rolling conveyer belt, down a chute and into a plastic box and the camera zooms in on the bottles in the box]

They’re recent markets.  We’re looking to open up into 22 other countries in the next 12 months.

[Image changes to show empty bottles being funnelled into a conveyer belt and then the camera zooms in on the empty bottles]

With the international markets coming on board we had to look at options to be able to support that increased capacity

[Image changes to show the outside of a building and then the camera zooms in on a sign: Medical Developments International]

and Scoresby was a site that we looked at very quickly. 

[Music plays and image changes to show the narrator talking to the camera]

Scoresby allows us to design a purpose built facility for not only the current process but also for the new manufacturing process which we’ve designed with collaboration with the CSIRO

[Image changes to show a sign “Caribbean Park” outside a building and then the image changes to show the inside of the building and the camera pans around the room]

and it also… I guess the footprint is a huge bonus for us as well.  

[Camera zooms in on a piece of stainless steel machinery in the room and the camera pans up the machinery]

So, this new facility has been built to not only house the current requirements but then the projected requirements for five or ten years going forward. 

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Penthrox manufacturing process and then the camera zooms in on the bottles being filled and capped]

The new process allows us to do it a lot safer. 

[Camera zooms out to show the whole process again and then the camera zooms in on bottles being filled one after the other]

It reduces the risk and provides, I think, a quick turnaround. 

[Music plays and the camera zooms out to show the bottles moving through the process and then the image changes to show two packaged Penthrox bottles]

We have seen significant increases in product yield. 

[Camera zooms out to show a range of Penthrox products]

Also, the product can be scaled quite simply and easily

[Image changes to show a female opening a Penthrox inhaler package and filling the inhaler from a Penthrox bottle, and then rubbing the inhaler between her hands]

without the investment in large equipment. 

[Image changes to show a laboratory worker placing a Penthrox bottle in a vice like machine on a bench and then placing a cap on the bottle]

The CSIRO has been in the story of Penthrox since 1999. 

[Image changes to show the female removing the bottle and making notes and then the image changes to show the narrator talking to the camera]

During that time they’ve assisted us with many other requirements from an R and D perspective.  The support is always there and also, I think having the CSIRO from the early stages of the development of the original process here in Australia,

[Image changes to show a bottle being filled with a syringe and then the camera zooms out to show the male holding the bottle]

they have that familiarity.  They know where we are going. 

[Image changes to show the narrator talking to the camera]

They are an extension to our own R and D Department.  They really do feel like they’re part of the family.

[CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

MDI collaboration with the CSIRO

Additional Resources

Assisted by CSIRO, MDI has seen its market value rise from less than $10 million dollars in March 2010, to around $290 million now.

Dr Paul Savage, CSIRO Biomedical Research Director, said CSIRO was pleased to play a role in the company‘s export growth, by helping MDI lower processing costs while increasing production.

"We've enjoyed a long-standing partnership of over 17 years with MDI, and in that time seen have them become a world-leading SME in the biomed space," Dr Savage said.

"As the Australian manufacturing industry transitions from high volume commodity products to innovation-driven high-value exports, it is companies like Medical Developments International that are leading the way.

"Australian SMEs are the engine-room of economic development in Australia and CSIRO is proud to play its small part in the growth strategy of star SME's like MDI."

MDI's CEO, John Sharman said the new manufacturing facility in Melbourne's East was being launched to keep up with global demand for the product.

The company has also added 26 new jobs to keep up with demand.

"Penthrox has now been approved for sale in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France and Belgium," Mr Sharman said.

"We're expecting to enter another 37 markets over the next two years, including Germany, Spain and Italy, and commence the product approval process in the USA.

"This state of the art facility allows us to keep up with not only current demand but future growth over the next decade.

"We expect our work force to grow considerably over the next 12 months."

MDI is the only company in the world that makes Penthrox, which offers a safe, simple to use, non-narcotic, non-addictive alternative for acute pain management, fitting a significant market need globally.

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