Sharp Expanding in Lehigh Valley as it Fights Against Coronavirus

By Colin McEvoy on June 2, 2020

A 2016 photo of Sharp Packaging Solutions' building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township.

A 2016 photo of Sharp Packaging Solutions’ building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township.

As the nation grapples with quarantines and millions of employees are telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lehigh Valley has a high percentage of essential jobs that cannot be done from home. Each week, we’re recognizing some of our Economic Heroes, the companies and organizations that are continuing to work during these difficult times, helping keep the regional economy strong and doing their part to help fight against the coronavirus.

Sharp has been rapidly expanding its Lehigh Valley presence in recent years, and the company is growing in the region once again, while also fighting back against the coronavirus pandemic on multiple fronts.

Sharp Packaging Solutions, a global market-leading packaging company which has facilities in Upper Macungie Township and Bethlehem Township, has acquired a new 160,000 square-foot pharmaceutical packaging facility in Lower Macungie Township.

The company has four sites across the state of Pennsylvania and has invested more than $60 million on its global facilities in recent years. Investments include a $21 million expansion of packaging capabilities at its Upper Macungie campus last year, and a $23 million renovation of its storage and distribution services at its Bethlehem Township facility in 2018.

Sharp Clinical Services, a division of the Sharp company, has been involved in supporting clinical trials related to COVID-19 from its Pennsylvania facilities, according to Frank Lis, President of Sharp Clinical.

This includes delivering clinical trial packaging, labeling, and distribution services for two biotech organizations that are developing potential vaccines for the virus, according to the company.

Sharp’s packaging division also packages and distributes many life-sustaining and life-saving medicines that are needed to maintain peoples’ health, including some that treat COVID-19 symptoms, such as high fever.

“We are very proud of the work we do every day in support of our pharma clients, but never more so than today as we actively support our clients’ clinical studies related to COVID-19,” Lis said.

“In the face of this global pandemic, the clinical trials industry continues to focus its attention on the discovery and development of potential vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and Sharp Clinical is playing its part,” he said.

Sharp’s new Lower Macungie Township facility is located within six miles of its Upper Macungie campus. The company acquired the site from Quality Packaging Specialists International, LLC, a move that allows Sharp to hire more than 100 new personnel into the business.

The site provides Sharp with additional capacity in response to increasing volume demands from clients, as well as the space to expand further. The facility will offer primary and secondary pharmaceutical packaging including bottling, blistering, vial labeling and medical device kitting as well as serialization services

“Our focus as always is to invest to better serve our clients and their patients, and the acquisition of the Macungie facility will help us to support their needs immediately and for years to come,” said Kevin Orfan, President of Sharp. “Its proximity to our Centers of Excellence in Allentown will allow us to leverage existing capabilities and help us to continue delivering efficiently while growing our capacity.”

Sharp has been working to ensure the safety and protection of its employees during the pandemic. Workers have been directed to strictly adhere to government guidelines with regard to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and on-going health self-monitoring.

The company has also been providing ongoing communications to reinforce CDC and WHO guidelines, including a strict no-work policy for anyone sick or in contact witch others who are sick.

Additionally, the company is working to ensure employees have the necessary IT infrastructure and support to work from home where possible, and has suspended all international travel and limited domestic travel to business-critical only, with VP approval.

Sharp’s new Lower Macungie Township facility comes with 12 primary production suites, space for multiple secondary packaging lines, 30,000 square feet of warehouse space, and about 6,600 square feet of additional space for possible future expansions.

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