Vaccine production line in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Moderna, the U.S. company that has gone the furthest with the discovery and testing of the mRNA-1273 vaccine in response to COVID-19 decided to join forces with the Swiss company LONZA to prepare for the production of the vaccine in large quantities. Moderna has successfully completed the first phase of clinical trials, and the second phase, which is being conducted on 600 patients older than the age of 18, is nearing completion. The third and final phase of testing, which is going to be conducted on 30,000 patients, is about to begin in July.
If this phase of clinical trials proves successful, and based on the results of the first two phases the likelihood of success of the third phase is expected to be high, Moderna will receive a license for the commercial production of mRNA-1273. The vaccine will be produced at two LONZA sites. One is in the US, in Portsmouth, and the other in Switzerland in Visp. Klimaoprema has been selected as the main designer and contractor for the production plant in Switzerland. In this undertaking, as our subcontractor in design, we are accompanied by a renowned company for the development of the production process, CRB from the USA. Klimaoprema will be responsible for the complete project from the preliminary design phase to the completion of validation and handover to the user.
The new production facility in Switzerland is located in Lonza’s Ibex Complex in Visp. Ibex is composed of a cutting edge facility and a highly flexible business model resulting in fast project realization and production start-up while maintaining high flexibility for customer needs. The availability of a technology agnostic core & shell with central supplies, logistics and central infrastructure in place paired with an experienced Engineering and Operations team allows for fast track implementation of complex GMP production modules.
The production space, which includes approximately 2.500 m2, class CNC to C, needs to be designed and executed in a record time of 6 months from idea to initial production. This fast pace will enable the first vaccines for the market to be available as early as the beginning of 2021, which is crucial in these moments of uncertain future and problems on the global level. I believe that it is clear to everyone how important this project is for LONZA, and consequently how much trust LONZA has placed in Klimaoprema to handle the entire project management. The successful completion of this  project, which will require immense efforts from all of us, can position Klimaoprema at the very top of engineering houses in Europe and mark the beginning of a very beautiful and long-standing story.

Marin Martinaga
Head of Cleanroom