News & Press

Fribourg Site Inaugurates Newly-Expanded Drug Product Facility

Edition 2 / June 2022
Small Molecules Platform > CordenPharma Fribourg Inaugurates Expanded Drug Product Manufacturing Facility

Edition 2 / June 2022

Dr.Stephen Houldsworth, VP, Global Head of Platform Management & Marketing, CordenPharma International, headshot

Dr. Stephen Houldsworth,

VP, Global Head of Platform Management & Marketing,
CordenPharma International

Inauguration of Expanded Drug Product Manufacturing Facility in CordenPharma Fribourg

CordenPharma executives celebrate the Lisbon site’s expanded drug product manufacturing facility.

On Friday May 20th CordenPharma Fribourg (CH) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate their newly-expanded drug product
manufacturing facility.

On Friday May 20th, Yvan Liard, Managing Director of CordenPharma Fribourg, was joined by CEO Dr. Michael Quirmbach and Olivier Curty, Government Councilor of Canton Fribourg (CH) at our recently acquired Fribourg facility to officially open the expansion of a new drug product manufacturing facility. They were joined at the site by a selection of site employees, customers and contractors to enjoy speeches, aperitifs and a tour of the newly constructed space.

This ribbon cutting ceremony marked the final completion of the design and build cycle that started in early 2019. The rapid construction was only possible thanks to a unique modular design concept that allows for the efficient addition of manufacturing lines when capacity or customer demands require it. Thus the Fribourg expansion resulted in the construction of an outer shell in which individual modular production sections can be easily incorporated. In this first phase, 50% of the available production space was completed with bulk manufacturing and final packaging lines ideal for the primary and secondary packaging of tablets or capsules into blisters or bottles for worldwide markets.

Inauguration Day at CordenPharma Fribourg (CH)

On 20 May 2022, CordenPharma Fribourg (CH) celebrated the inauguration of their new drug product facilities, offering very flexible and modular production capabilities for our customers. Site employees, customers and contractors joined local journalists, authorities, and politicians at the official ribbon cutting ceremony presented by Dr. Michael Quirmbach, CEO of CordenPharma, Yvan Liard, Managing Director of CordenPharma Fribourg, and Olivier Curty, Government Councilor of Canton Fribourg (CH).

After an initial internal operational approval granted in August 2019 and full financial approval received in October 2019, the compressed construction timeline was possible due to the support of local economic promotion groups and rapid receipt of building permits, allowing shovels to break ground in July 2020, despite the unwelcome global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic! Construction took a little over 12 months to complete, thanks not only to the unique modular design but also the environmental and sustainability choices made in the design phase. This also reinforces the growing trend that a focus on sustainability can and should be factored into CDMO and pharmaceutical construction projects, without the need to compromise on time or budget!

Since September 2021 the newly constructed manufacturing facility has been fully operational, which includes an expanded raw material, intermediate and final drug product warehousing operation incorporating AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) and a new automatic service elevator to bring materials to the production floors, all fully integrated into the site’s SAP inventory system. Additional technologies include a Fette encapsulation machine and associated compounding / blending area, one new Uhlmann blister packaging line, and one new Uhlmann bottle packaging line with full serialization and aggregation capabilities. In total the expansion created 33,000 m³ of new pharmaceutical manufacturing space.

With this facility expansion we can now easily double our previous production capacities for tablets and hard shell capsules at the Fribourg facility, while in the meantime building for the future. Although the expansion does not include additional service offerings, its unique design does grant the space to consider bringing in new manufacturing modalities to complement the current extensive Oral Solid Dosage (OSD) capabilities already available at the site. This setup allows us to meet the growing needs of our expanding customer base.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the role that the former site owners Vifor Pharma played in this expansion. Without their original vision for the site, the planning phase for the project would not have been initiated or executed as concisely. Clearly the capabilities and new capacities that were created as part of this expansion greatly contributed to CordenPharma’s decision to acquire the site in February 2022.

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