Readers of PharmTech may have noticed that I’ve been concerned about innovation in the pharmaceutical industry and somewhat despairing of the state of early-stage drug discovery work. So you can imagine my thrill–and relief–yesterday when I had a chance to meet the finalists for the “Facility of the Year Awards” (FOYA), sponsored by ISPE, INTERPHEX, and Pharmaceutical Processing magazine, and learned of the truly amazing solutions that engineers are implementing to current industry problems. Among those problems, two stood out in particular: the need to get a plant built and online quickly, and the need for flexible designs in plants engineered to manufacture multiple products and–even more impressive–product classes.
In the first category, speedy, design and manufacture, engineers who designed and built Pfizer’s plant in in Illertissen, Germany, and those who managed the project for Roche’s new facility in Basel, Switzerland, completed their projects four to six months ahead of schedule and remained under budget. Pfizer’s plant is almost totally automated, and requires only two human operators per shift, earning the plant’s engineering team the award for process innovation. The Roche project was completed in record time, earning its project manager the award for project execution. Read more »