Major biotech manufacturer expands R&D facilities

Shire Human Genetic Therapies selects a range of products from Honeywell Process Solutions.


Biopharmaceutical manufacturer Shire Human Genetic Therapies (HGT), a business unit of Shire plc, has selected Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) to provide process control infrastructure for its new $250-million production facility in Lexington, MA.

Shire HGT is committed to developing, manufacturing, and commercializing therapies for life-threatening genetic diseases. The company says that when the new facility is completed in spring 2010, it will be the largest “disposable biotechnology” site in the U.S. This is a new concept where disposable vessels and tank liners are used to reduce the cost of cleaning and verification of process equipment. The site also will include cell-culture production, a clinical suite, and just-in-time warehousing.

“Technology that simplifies scale-up from R&D to commercialized production is critical for biotech facilities to produce as efficiently and reliably as possible,” says Don Wuchterl, director of manufacturing for HGT. “Experion and OneWireless are proven to streamline operations and will provide the flexibility required for a multi-purpose facility such as ours."

Shire will use Experion as the primary control platform for the new facility. HPS says the system helps operators run production by integrating critical subsystems throughout the plant, providing a single view into the manufacturing process via Experion client operator stations. The processing capacity of the C300 controller will reduce the amount of hardware needed to automate Shire’s manufacturing process, as well as reduce operating costs.

OneWireless mesh network technology will allow Shire to mount controllers on moveable equipment without having to worry about cabling issues. Also, wireless remote operator stations will be used to help reduce the overall number of stations required, and eliminate the need for expensive hardened enclosures in environmentally sensitive areas.

Honeywell also will provide its Uniformance Process Historian Database (PHD) technology. Uniformance will pull information from Experion and help improve operations by allowing Shire operators to store, retrieve and analyze process control data.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, ,
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