CleanRooms Puerto Rico attracts island’s brightest and best
By John Haystead
The 2005 CleanRooms Puerto Rico Contamination Control Technology Conference and Exhibition posted record attendance last November at San Juan’s Wyndham Condado Plaza Hotel. Presented by CleanRooms magazine and Puerto Rico’s Industry University Consortium (INDUNIV), the one-day event attracted over 200 industry professionals representing every major pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical manufacturing company on the island.
Distinguished lecturer Dr. Hans Schicht, one of the world’s foremost authorities on contamination-control technology, standardization, and regulatory requirements, presented his highly acclaimed lecture program: “Essentials of Bio/Pharmaceutical Cleanroom & Contamination Control Technology.” As observed by Ivan Lugo, INDUNIV executive director, “The conference offered a new, unique and highly valuable educational opportunity for the island’s bio/pharmaceutical manufacturing and technology professionals.”
The one-day event attracted over 200 industry professionals representing every major pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical manufacturing company on the island.
To kick off the event, David Carberry, plant manager for Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, Puerto Rico, and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Industry Association of Puerto Rico, welcomed conference attendees and discussed “the importance of educational events such as this to advancing P.R.’s manufacturing competitiveness through a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce.”
The 2005 CleanRooms Puerto Rico Contamination Control Technology Conference and Exhibition posted record attendance last November at San Juan’s Wyndham Condado Plaza Hotel.
As a highly industrialized center of advanced technology, Puerto Rico is a major producer and exporter of manufactured goods, pharmaceuticals and high-technology equipment. Sixteen of the top twenty pharmaceutical drugs sold in the U.S. are manufactured in Puerto Rico and, with more than 25 percent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector, the pharmaceutical industry generates over 30,000 direct jobs. Over USD $31 billion worth of pharmaceutical products were shipped from Puerto Rico in 2003.
The government of Puerto Rico has specifically targeted biotechnology as a key development area on the Island. Three major pharmaceutical companies have already brought their biotech manufacturing to Puerto Rico-Amgen, Inc., Ortho, Inc., and Lilly-with others moving parts of their process development to the island. Other major pharmaceutical manufacturers on the island include Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbott, and Mova Pharmaceuticals.
In addition to the conference program, CleanRooms Puerto Rico also included exhibits and demonstrations of the latest contamination-control technology and products. A highlight of the show was the tour offered to all show attendees by ARAMARK Cleanroom Services of its new state-of-the-art cleanroom laundry facility. ARAMARK’s new 28,000-square-foot building, located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, includes 3,000 square feet of Class 100 cleanroom space, 5,200 square feet of classified and non-classified cleanroom area. As described by David Turner, general manager of the facility, “It’s a complete cleanroom environment from front to back. We’ve extended our cleanroom operations all the way through to what we call our pack-out area. And, although we don’t classify this area, we’ve certified it to a high level of cleanroom operations.”
A few of ARAMARK’s finest: (from left to right) Juan, Carlos, Esther, Angel, and Carlos.
The facility also incorporates a conditioned water system utilizing RODI, independent back-up water storage tanks, and a back-up power generation station, as well as a garment gamma sterilization capability. Operational now for approximately two months, the facility incorporates significant redundancy and capacity for future growth in its utility infrastructure, Turner says. “We’re currently at less than 50 percent capacity and, though we will shortly be up to 60-70 percent, on a one-shift basis, that still leaves us plenty of capacity beyond that via multiple shifts.”
Turner expects Puerto Rico to continue to be a major hub for the pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturing sectors. “It probably won’t be a net growth environment anymore, with some of the generics players moving out, but others such as Amgen are expanding their facilities, which will balance this out.” Turner also notes that, from ARAMARK’s business perspective, “there’s also a lot of opportunity to convert people currently using disposable garments to reusables.”
Turner says he and ARAMARK were pleased to invite the CleanRooms attendees to their site. “We’re committed to educational activities and forums such as the CleanRooms conferences and INDUNIV-sponsored events, and want to help support them however we can. In particular, we want to work more closely at the university level to bring people up to speed early on this technology.”
ARAMARK’s cleanroom-garment processing experts.
At the same time that attendees were visiting the ARAMARK site, exhibitors were treated to by-invitation-only tours of Eli Lilly’s self-contained, fully automated protein-manufacturing complex and Amgen Inc.’s aseptic-fill-and-finish manufacturing facility. The Lilly biotechnology site is dedicated to the bulk manufacturing of Insulin Lispro, a fast-acting insulin analog. The Amgen site is considered the largest biotechnology manufacturing site in the world and is dedicated to bulk manufacturing and fill-and-finish operations.
The 2006 CleanRooms Puerto Rico Conference & Exhibition will be held November 15-16, once again at the Wyndham Condado Plaza Hotel, San Juan. -JSH