In a few weeks, biologics manufacturer JHL Biotech will begin to take delivery of the largest single-use modular biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the world. It’s being constructed in Germany and shipped to Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.
Racho Jordanov, JHL Biotech’s CEO, has dedicated himself to making novel biopharmaceuticals affordable and accessible to markets where they are otherwise prohibitively expensive. “Our vision is to make world-class biopharmaceuticals affordable and accessible to all patients,” he says. “This revolutionary modular facility is part of the realization of our vision in Asia, where US-made biopharmaceuticals are out of reach, and there is a large unmet medical need.”
The sixty-two completed modules that make up the factory are now on a two and a half month journey, by road and boat, to Wuhan to be assembled into a working facility at the Biolake Science Park.
GE Healthcare is supplying the full solution, known as a KUBio, from bioprocessing equipment, to the building and overall project coordination. The modules arrive 80-90% pre-equipped at the site including the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, the clean room, most of the utility equipment, and all of the piping necessary to run the plant.
Olivier Loeillot, General Manager GE Healthcare Life Sciences Asia says, “It’s really very innovative and different, because today 98% of biopharma factories are still stick-built, meaning you design and construct the building first, then it takes around a year to get it up and running. Our concept is totally different because you do everything in parallel, which enables you to save up to one and half years in total. This is really what is critical for companies developing biopharmaceuticals: speed.”
Racho’s commitment to embedding quality into JHL’s biopharmaceutical production through the quality of the building itself will enable the facility to produce world-class biopharmaceuticals for an international market, as well as addressing the need in Asia. “If you test every injection that you make, there will be nothing left to sell. Therefore, the quality has to be built into the process,” he explains, as he inspects the pre-built modules. “To control a complex process of biopharmaceutical manufacturing requires very sophisticated equipment, and very sophisticated buildings to put the equipment in.”
In addition to GE project-managing the build, members of its experienced Shanghai team will validate the equipment and provide training for JHL Biotech staff. After completion, the JHL Biotech KUBio facility will have a floor space of approximately 2,400m2 and will contain a number of 2,000L single-use bioreactors.
Watch Racho Jordanov and Olivier Loeillot talk more about module construction, see the module build step-by-step, and watch the modules start their two and a half month boat journey to Wuhan, China: