Amgen Process Development Facility, United States of America
Bothell is the site of a process development facility, owned by the pharmaceuticals firm Immunex (now owned by Amgen). The process development facility is designed to act as a pilot plant for new pharmaceutical products. In particular, the biotechnology company can use the pilot plant to try out genetically modified drug production. The 50,000ft² building is the third Immunex building on the Bothell site. The building is designed to be able to accommodate future expansions, although no expansion to the Bothell pilot plant is expected in the near future. Immunex is also investing in facilities in Seattle (the Helix project) and in West Greenwich in Rhode Island.
THE BOTHELL PILOT PLANT FACILITY
The new Bothell plant has 16,500 lineal feet of high purity stainless steel piping and 7,800 orbital welds, and was built at a cost of about $50 million. It uses 2l bioreactors. The smaller scale lowers the cost of trying out new products in the process. Although the process facility was not intended to go through the full FDA approval process, it nevertheless had to undergo a closely documented construction process to meet industry standards.
PROCESS DEVELOPMENT FACILITY DESIGN
The process development facility uses pre-cast concrete as its main material. The concrete accounts for about 70% of the building envelope. The building is constructed with a series of coloured concrete panels. The exterior also uses metal strips and a glazing structure. The glazing is tinted and limited on the sun facing aspects of the building in order to limit solar heating in warm weather. At the same time, the building is designed to maximise the use of natural light. The laboratory requirements of the interior also demanded an efficient floor plan.
PROCESS DEVELOPMENT FACILITY CONSTRUCTION TIMESCALE
The Bothell project was begun at the close of 1999, and took 14 months to complete. The Bothell process development facility saw production gradually geared up during the course of 2001 to full capacity by the opening of 2002.
WATER SUPPLY AT THE BOTHELL PROCESS DEVELOPMENT FACILITY
The Bothell facilities demanded a sophisticated piping system for high-purity water for injection (WFI) and deionized water (WDI). This demanded a lot of orbital welding. Orbital welding makes the surfaces of the piping smoother, ensuring that micro-organisms do not grow and contaminate the process. The smoother welding also limits corrosion.
PROCESS FACILITY SHUTDOWN
The launching of the pilot plant was complicated by the need to close down some old facilities in order to reintegrate them with the new. The month long connection process created 85 utility tie ins. Many of these tie ins had to be completed in a very short time in order not to disrupt the plant. The careful connection allowed the old facilities to continue to operate during the link up period.
AMGEN/IMMUNEX TAKEOVER BID
The operation of the Bothell facility is likely to be unaffected by the takeover bid announced for Immunex by Amgen in December 2001. The bid included provision for Amgen to buy out American Home Products’ 41% share of Immunex.
Eichleay Engineers, Ehrlich Rominger and HDR Architects acted as architects for the facility. DPR Construction was the general contractor on the project. Valley and McCarthy Construction carried out preliminary studies on the project before the main work began. There were also a number of other small contractors and sub-contractors involved.