Projects

Biogen’s Biologics Manufacturing Facility, Solothurn, Switzerland

Biogen’s new biologics manufacturing facility is being developed in Luterbach near Solothurn, Switzerland.

Project Type

Biologics manufacturing facility

Location

Luterbach, Solothurn, Switzerland

Investment

CHF1.5bn ($1.5bn)

Start of Construction

January 2016

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Biogen’s new biologics manufacturing facility is being developed in Luterbach near Solothurn, Switzerland.

With an investment of approximately CHF1.5bn ($1.5bn), the state-of-the-art facility is aimed to meet increasing demand for high-quality protein-based drugs or biologics, which target severe neurodegenerative, haematological or autoimmune diseases. It is expected to triple Biogen’s biologics manufacturing capacity.

Biogen first announced plans to develop the facility in July 2015. The necessary land was acquired by the end of 2015 and a construction permit was granted in February 2016. A ground-breaking ceremony for the facility took place in January 2016. Operations are expected to be commenced in 2019.

The new facility is expected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and another 600 new jobs upon commencing operations.

Location of Biogen’s biologics manufacturing facility in Switzerland

Biogen’s biologics manufacturing facility is being constructed on the site of the former Borregaard pulp mill. The site was chosen as it fulfilled all the requirements for developing a sustainable biotechnology facility, including sufficient land.

Switzerland’s educational system, the availability of a skilled workforce and a supportive economic environment were other reasons considered when choosing the location.

The facility is also situated near Biogen’s international headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, and is expected to generate manufacturing synergies for the company.

Biogen’s new manufacturing facility details

Biogen’s biologics manufacturing facility is being constructed at a 24,000m² campus. The site will feature production buildings BMC1 and BMC2 along with a warehouse, laboratories and an office. The production blocks will be 28m-high and 60m-long.

“The new facility is expected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and another 600 new jobs upon commencing operations.”

The production building will also include an administrative block and supply building (CUB), as well as other smaller buildings, including a sprinkler control centre and an emergency power system.

The new modular production facility will house two cell manufacturing lines, which will each be installed with four 15,000l bioreactors. The manufacturing lines will have a modular design, which will enable them to adapt to expansions to meet future manufacturing demands.

Biogen’s Biologics facility construction details

A total of 29,000m³ of concrete and 12,500t of steel is being used in the construction of the plant. The wall formwork of the building will be made of a system named Mammut 350. It will include a 3.5m high-format panel and have a formwork surface of 8.75m².

The production facility will require 101km-long pipes, 843km of cables, 2,600m-long dirt and rainwater pipes, four dirt and rainwater pumping stations, 600m-long extinguishing water pipes, 1,900m process wastewater pipes and 3,000m-long drinking water and hydrant pipes.

In addition, 250m of gas pipes, 45,000m-long electric cables and 85 electric shafts will be used.

Processing technology details

The new ultra-modern facility is expected to produce biologics using a four-step production process. The first step will involve inoculation and seed train operations to culture the mammalian cells using cultivation vessels and bioreactors of different sizes.

The purification phase involves the removal of impurities using a series of purification steps to ensure the products’ purity and suitability to be used by humans. The product will then be transferred into specific containers and stabilised for final processing, which involves filling, labelling and packaging.

Contractors involved

Jacobs was contracted to provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the project, while ABEC was awarded a contract to provide the process equipment.

Burckhardt + Partner was subcontracted by Jacobs to coordinate the approval process, planning and realisation of the administration building, while Mavo was commissioned to provide the design plan.

Marti Solothurn provided construction services, while Siemens provided building management platform Desigo CC.

MEVA Schalungs-Systeme provided the wall formwork and security system, while Bilfinger Industrial Services Schweiz was contracted to supply and install the heat and cold insulation for various plant components.

Other contractors involved in the project are WAM Planer und Ingenieure, Wanner, Terre Alpiq InTec, Gruner, Marti, STS Group, Geopoint, GRP Ingenieure, BSB + Partner, Farner Consulting, FOPPA and Amstein + Walthert Bern.

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