Awards recognise top pharma manufacturing projects

pharmafile | January 19, 2010 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Biogen, Genentech, Mannkind, Pfizer 

The winners of the 2010 Facility of the Year Awards have been made public, with Pfizer grabbing two out of the five prizes for manufacturing sites it operates in Ireland.

The other winners in the contest, which takes place every year and is judged by the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineer, were Biogen Idec, Genentech and inhaled insulin hopeful Mannkind.

Pfizer Biotechnology Ireland’s monoclonal antibody unit in County Cork, the firm’s first greenfield bioproduction facility, won the Sustainability prize for extensive re-use of existing assets and green building and operating procedures, including measures to cut down waste and energy use.

Sister company Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals won the Facility Integration award for an extension to its Dun Laoghaire site which added a new production module, warehouse, central utilities building, and personnel support facility. The extension was added with no impact on manufacturing output at the site, and was designed to be screened as far as possible from the view of nearby residences.

US biotechnology firm Biogen Idec took the award for Operational Excellence, specifically for a project to upgrade its bulk biologics production facilities in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The upgrade boosted yields at the plant by 300% by removing bottlenecks and applying new technologies, and was achieved “at a fraction of the cost of building new facilities,” according to ISPE.

Genentech claimed the top prize in the Project Execution category for its bacterial manufacturing facility in Tuas, Singapore, which is used to make eye disease drug Lucentis (ranibizumab). The facility was taken from the start of engineering to the production of Good-Manufacturing Practice (GMP) validated batches in just 24 months.

Finally, Mannkind won the Equipment Innovation and Process Innovation award for its purpose-built facility to manufacture its Technosphere drug delivery particles, which underpin Mannkind’s inhaled insulin candidate Afrezza but can also be applied to a wide variety of other large-molecule drugs. The technology is so revolutionary that no existing facility in the world was capable of making the particles, forcing Mannkind to build a $163 million facility from scratch.

The overall winner from the five individual categories will be announced later this year at the ISPE’s annual meeting in Orlando, USA, in November. Last year’s winner was Roche Pharma Biotech Production for its Monoclonal Anti Bodies (MAB) 95 Facility in Basel, Switzerland.

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