Boehringer capacity exceeds original forecast at new $809M Austrian plant

Boehringer Ingelheim’s new 700 million euros ($809 million) manufacturing facility, which officially opened this month in Vienna, boasts a production capacity of 185,000 liters, exceeding its original planned capacity of 150,000 liters.

The facility, which added an additional 30% in mammalian large scale capacity with 48 stainless steel bioreactors, has been in the works since 2015. Aside from the capacity increase, the project also grew beyond its original cost estimate of 500 million euros ($578 million). The site represents the company’s largest investment ever.

Touted as a state-of-the-art facility, the site is structured to allow a faster manufacturing handoff from one product to another as well as simultaneous production of various products.

“With our facilities set up as multi-product plants and flexible line structures, we are able to supply a variety of molecule formats, such as monoclonal antibodies, enzymes, cytokines and other recombinant proteins for patients with unmet medical needs,” Uwe Buecheler, Ph.D., head of Boehringer’s biopharmaceutical business unit, said in a statement.

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The cell-culture production building, which Boehringer started in 2017, encompasses 48,000 square meters and includes virtual reality, automation and artificial intelligence capabilities. The facility achieved mechanical completion and GMP commissioning earlier this year, but Boehringer decided to postpone an official opening ceremony after a spike in COVID-19 cases in the spring.

Boehringer, which reaped about $22.9 billion in revenues in 2020, reported that in its first six months of 2021 it brought in $11.63 billion, a 5.8% increase from the same period a year ago when adjusted for foreign currencies.