Architect's sketch of the expansion of the CoreRx Tampa facility.
The Tampa site expansion will add 7,500ft of laboratories.
The expansion will include a number of new suites, laboratories and meeting rooms.
The Tampa site will also be made the headquarters of CoreRx when the expansion is complete.
ACI BOLAND is assisting ARCO Design Build in planning and architecture of the Tampa facility.

US formulation development company CoreRx Pharmaceuticals (CoreRx), initiated a major expansion of its manufacturing site at Tampa, Florida in June 2009. The contract development and manufacturing facility complying with cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) has been employed by CoreRx since the company’s inception in 2006, to provide pharmaceutical services to businesses of pharmaceutical companies.

The announcement opened doors for the plant’s expansion for the second time since its inception. The first expansion was undertaken in 2008, announced on 2 June. This expansion added GMP process rooms that featured a tri-layer tablet press, high shear granulator, fluid bed dryer/granulator, bin tumbler, and co-mill. Two formulation development suites and new formulation development process equipment were also added during the first expansion since inception.

The equipment added during the previous expansion included laboratory high shear granulator, laboratory fluid bed dryer / granulator, laboratory tablet coater, spray dryer and other process equipment.

An estimated investment of more than $7m will be spent on the 2009 expansion, which will help CoreRx to better support and streamline the drug development process for pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovators.

An estimated investment of more than $7m was made on the 2009 expansion.

CoreRx planned to buy a new 80,000ft² site in Hillsborough County to accommodate the expanded operations. However, the expansion was shelved as property prices did not support the project’s budget.

“The new site will allow CoreRx to triple its capacity so that it can achieve its projected growth through 2015.”

In November 2010, CoreRx decided to relocate from Tampa to Largo, Pinellas County. In January 2011 it purchased a site that was earlier occupied by Formulated Solutions, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical devices.

Construction at the new site is underway. The site is being renovated, fitted and expanded. Fifty-five 55 personnel will be employed at the facility, in addition to the 16 employees retained from the Tampa Bay operation.

The project will also further expand the company’s services such as pre-formulation / formulation development, analytical development, clinical manufacturing, validation engineering and stability services.

The new site will allow CoreRx to triple its capacity so that it can achieve its projected growth through 2015. After the remodelling and fitting are complete, the company will also relocate its headquarters to Largo. Contract manufacturing, formulation research and development will be carried out on the site.

Construction, timelines and investment

The expansion at the Tampa site was expected to be spread over about 80,000ft², including the existing 10,000ft² facility. ARCO Design Build and Murray Construction were chosen as the contractors for the project. Interior design firm ACI Boland assisted ARCO in the Tampa facility planning and architecture.

The Largo site will be spread over 40,000ft². Capsule-fillers, a 43-station high-speed tablet press with an hourly capacity of 175,000 tablets, an 125,000 capsules/hour automated encapsulator, two V-shell blenders (15ft³ and 30ft³) and a 40in solvent-capable coating pan have been installed at the site.

New facilities and capacity additions

The Tampa expansion would have added 8,500ft² of laboratory space and 7,500ft² of formulation development space, made up of six suites. The renovation was also expected to add nine cGMP manufacturing suites, a dedicated cytotoxicity manufacturing suite and eight state-of-the art formulation development suites.

“The Largo site accommodates five suites, of which three were added in November 2010.”

The Largo site accommodates five suites, of which three were added in November 2010.

Because CoreRx is a contract research and manufacturer, the facility’s capacity is dependent upon the number of clients rather than the contractual projects awarded to it.

Additional capacities and capabilities resulting from the expansion will help the company to meet the growing needs of its customer, CoreRx expects.

Regional benefits

Since the Largo expansion will create new jobs for the highly skilled, the average salaries of these will meet or exceed 150% of the average annual wages in Florida.

The new jobs will increase the number of employees in the management team, research scientists, research and manufacturing, and facilities and maintenance staff.

Expected to create more than 55 new jobs in Florida over a three-year period ending 2012, the project has qualified for the state’s Qualified Tax Incentive (QTI) programme. CoreRx will financially benefit from the tax-saving incentives. CoreRx will use the tax-saving state incentives to offset relocation and expansion costs. The QTI program will offer the company tax refunds worth $3,000 for every job created.

The company will also use funds from the US Small Business Administration and Florida’s Economic Gardening Business Loan programme.