Merck 'program of projects' earns facility award

Merck's ($MRK) vaccine unit has been named winner of the Facility of the Year Award in the facility integration category. Rentschler Biotechnologie was named winner for equipment innovation at its Laupheim, Germany, manufacturing plant.

According to award program details, Merck was facing a shortfall at its Varicella vaccine franchise. It launched a "program of projects" at its vaccine bulk manufacturing facility in Durham, NC. The team used a modular construction strategy for off-site fabrication and equipment testing to speed the work. The resulting 214,000-square-foot facility doubled the output of the vaccine used for chicken pox and shingles, according to program details.

Contract biomanufacturer Rentschler said in a release its new multi-product manufacturing facility features a "flexible space concept comprising independent, connectable all-purpose cleanrooms designed for the operation of 100% mobile, single use manufacturing equipment for upstream and downstream processing." A facility-wide plug-and-play data logging system reaches cleanroom suites and aids in the setup of mobile manufacturing equipment, according to the release.

The facility awards program, sponsored by ISPE, INTERPHEX and Pharmaceutical Processing magazine, recognizes innovation and accomplishments in facility design, construction and operation, according to the program announcement.

- here's the program announcement
- see the Rentschler release
- and more from the program