Danish pharma plant named Facility of the Year

By Angela Godwin

Innovative products weren’t the only things unveiled at Interphex 2005 this past April. A new “Facility of the Year” award, recognizing excellence in facility engineering, was also bestowed for the first time this year. The award, designed to recognize the creativity and innovation of designers, builders and operators of manufacturing facilities serving the regulated healthcare industry, was presented to NovoNordisk A/S, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company based in Hillerød, Denmark.

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Twenty-eight facilities from twelve countries competed for the award. NovoNordisk was chosen for its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility dedicated to the production of the company’s hemophilia drug, NovoSeven®. The 150,000-square-foot, modularly designed facility accomplishes two major goals for the company: accommodate the current market demand for the NovoSeven product, and allow for future growth and broader application of the product. The design, which according to the company is characterized by its simplicity, also strives to ensure worker safety.

Two Grade C (ISO Class 7/8) cleanrooms are housed in the facility. The first, with an area of about 860 square feet (80 square meters), is a seeding laboratory for the propagation of mammalian cells. The second cleanroom, roughly 650 square feet (60 square meters) is utilized for the final purification steps and filling of bulk product, which is treated under laminar airflow. Both cleanrooms have been constructed with a glass wall facing the corridors, allowing visitors to observe cleanroom operations from the outside. In addition, the clear layout provides the staff with well-defined, easy-to-follow escape routes in the event of an emergency.

The facility was designed and built by NovoNordisk Engineering (NNE), a company headquartered in Soeborg, Denark, that specializes in pharmaceutical and biotechnological engineering. The modular concept developed by NNE enabled completion of the fast-tracked project in only 18 months.

Other award finalists included Alkermes, Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.), Apotex, Inc. (Toronto, Ontario), Kowa Company, Ltd. (Nagoya, Japan), and Lundbeck, Ltd. (U.K.). III


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