Features
November / December 2018

Eye on the Future - Janssen Expands Ireland Production Facility

Kyran Johnson
James A. Breen, Jr., PE
Eye on the Future -banner image - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

Janssen is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar expansion project at the company’s Ringaskiddy, County Cork, manufacturing facility in Ireland. The 19,100-square-meter project is expected to significantly increase Janssen’s global manufacturing capacity for producing biologic medicines for multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.

The project began in October 2017, with a goal of completing construction by the end of 2019. When completed, the Cork facility will include a new manufacturing building and expansion of the existing warehouse, laboratory, and administration buildings. Existing site infrastructure, including utilities, car parking, underground services, internal roads, yards, and pipe racks, will also be enlarged. To accommodate increased production volume, Janssen will increase onsite wastewater treatment plant capabilities. The project will create an additional 200 jobs at the site.

First opened in 2005, the Cork facility has been the production site for a selection of Janssen’s biologic treatments in the immunology and oncology spaces. The expansion’s goal is to help the company increase manufacturing capacity for both existing commercial products and new therapies coming through the development pipeline.

To determine the scope of the project, Janssen analyzed future needs while simultaneously assessing options for how they could be handled through internal or external manufacturing. Among the needs identified was a large-scale internal fed-batch capacity. The expansion project includes additional upstream expansion for when market demands require additional capacity and flexibility.

Cork facility
An aerial view of the site expansion

In addition to supplying current therapies, Janssen and other companies must develop reliable, cost-effective new treatments for disease states that are not addressed today. pharmaceutical manufacturers are addressing the specialized technology and supply chain models required to develop and produce innovative products. Like many in the pharmaceutical industry, Janssen welcomes this evolution and the hope it holds for patients.

Warehouse and laboratories under construction
Warehouse and laboratories under construction

There are challenges in bringing new forms of treatments to fruition but increasing the ability to supply specialized medicines throughout the world is also a critical opportunity. Speed is a key component in achieving these goals. Biologics present additional hurdles: They are capital-intensive, highly regulated, science-focused, and require a deep talent base.

To address these challenges, Janssen has partnered with local universities to develop industry talent, providing undergraduate and post-graduate work placements, as well as designing and delivering technical modules as part of undergraduate courses. Janssen has also forged relationships with other operating companies near the Cork facility to encourage government support for a biologics cluster in Ireland. Janssen will continue to work globally with external partners to make products, or perform intermediate steps, to ensure medicines are delivered to patients compliantly, on time, and at a fair price.

The world of pharmaceutical products continues to evolve, and with it, the factories of the future that are developing next-generation medicines need to have the ability to be reliable, compliant, and cost-effective producers of therapies for patients. Manufacturing facilities must be designed and operated for agile response to market demands and to volume changes. Janssen will continue to work globally with their partners to accommodate innovative technologies, focus on end-to-end solutions, and ensure that the focus stays on sustainable solutions for the patient.

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