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Meet Kantonsapotheke Zürich (KAZ) - 2019 Facility of the Year Operational Excellence Category Winner

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Kantonsapotheke Zürich (KAZ) - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

Kantonsapotheke Zürich (KAZ) is the 2019 Facility of the Year Operational Excellence Category Winner for their New Compounding Pharmacy for Canton Zurich Hospitals project in Schlieren, Switzerland.

2019 Category Winner for Operational Excellence - Kantonsapotheke Zürich

Projects selected in this category are recognized for their application of principles, systems, and tools of continuous improvement aimed at improving operational efficiency, delivery, quality, product yield, consistency, a culture of continuous improvement behaviors, and cost of goods. Additionally, these principles, systems and tools ensure business continuity through stable supply environment, health and safety, and customer satisfaction from existing or new facilities, processes, and manufacturing operations.

Sometimes there arises an opportunity to fundamentally change your approach when the understanding of possibilities shift forward, a paradigm shift of sorts, when the confluence of ideas, leadership, technology, finance and marketplace needs emerge and align. It was that opportunity that allowed the Kantonsapotheke Zürich (KAZ) project to forge ahead to take their concept of hospital pharmacies into the future and to establish benchmarks of operational excellence never seen before in patient focused facilities.



The vision which shaped the development of this facility was originally conceived by a team who assembled an innovative public-private financing arrangement, forged an organizational structure which aligned the owner-operator with the accountable regulatory agency on a common goal, motivated the community to embrace the political will, and led the profession to adapt technological advances which would change, and raise, their role in the system. Their transformative work has gone into developing the KAZ facility as the world’s most innovative hospital compounding operation and revealed the impact it will make on future facilities in this important step of patient therapy.

With a commitment at the outset that operational excellence starts with an excellent capital project, the development team was able to claim success by meeting very tight schedule targets established by a complex logistics plan to demobilize the existing hospital pharmacy operations. The team met a budget set at the beginning that could not vary because of the financing arrangement. And lastly, safety performance achieved a zero LTI rate. After investing $85 million, the plant became operational in 2017.

Investing in two robotic systems for the automated and segregated production of cytostatic drugs and establishing the first robotic vial filling operation, the KAZ drives the application of technology to an entirely new level for hospital pharmacies. These systems lead to higher quality, faster turnarounds, lower unit costs, and better use of pharmacists’ knowhow. Speed is highly critical in oncology therapies using cytostatic drugs. The KAZ has achieved an astonishing performance record of 60 - 90 minutes turnaround from diagnostic test and prescription to patient injection, including production, release, transport and logistics.

Not only is the KAZ a technically, financially and operationally superior facility serving hospital patients, but it also has a societal mission to advance pharmacies as vital steps in patient therapy by training the next generation of pharmacists in current GMP at industrial level, and to support research by producing test kits for clinical trials. In fact, the KAZ is continuously involved in 60-80 clinical trials.

The journey to advance patient therapy will continue through new visions and new efforts initiated by the KAZ Leadership Team. At the center of these are technical opportunities such as data acquisition and management and further automation in onsite logistics, but also in the development of new philosophies related to leadership, training, career development and pride of employees. Transformational change which impacts not only a single operation, but also sets new standards for human achievement occur through visionary leadership, community participation, financial engineering and technology advances.


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Today, the KAZ provides the Canton of Zurich hospital system a range of oral, dermal and parenteral formulations, often with patient specific recipes. The facility is highly flexible, adaptable and expandable to easily and quickly accommodate new functions, such as the rapidly emerging field of personalized medicine. All products are manufactured under industrial cGMP conditions, a major step change that is new to hospital pharmacies and their workers. KAZ has been successful and will continue to set new standards in the fields of compounding pharmacies and personalized medicine.

ISPE congratulates the KAZ team for their achievements and their FOYA award winning entry for Operational Excellence. Learn more about the 2019 FOYA Operational Excellence Category winner.


Has your company recently designed, built or renovated a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical or biotechnology facility that is best in its class? ISPE is now accepting entries into the 2020 ISPE Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA) Program, and your facility may be eligible to apply. Learn more about the Facility of the Year Awards submission process and your company could be the next Facility of the Year Awards Category winner.

Submit Application

Facility of the Year Awards Banquet

Join ISPE and prominent industry leaders as we recognize the 2019 Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA) Category Winners for their innovation and creativity in pharmaceutical and biotechnology facility design, construction, and operation, at the FOYA Banquet on the evening of Sunday, 27 October 2019 in Las Vegas, NV during the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting and Expo.

Register Now