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Janssen in Geel

Janssen in Geel

Today, Janssen Belgium is an indispensable link in the worldwide production network of Johnson & Johnson. We make a distinction between the chemical production at our site in Geel and the pharmaceutical production at our sites in Beerse and Olen. The Janssen site in Geel is a high-tech chemical production site that is responsible for as much as 60% of the total production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.

All drugs consist of two core components: the active pharmaceutical ingredient, which is the active ingredient of a drug, and the excipients, the substances that help our body absorb the drugs. At our site in Geel, 26 different types of active ingredients and three semi-finished drugs are produced, which amounts to more than 200 tons of active pharmaceutical substances every year. For this purpose, our Geel site has a number of reactors with a total volume of 325m3. In the past ten years, the teams at Janssen Geel have produced 14 important new active pharmaceutical ingredients. More than 750 employees work here every day to ultimately provide around 100 patients worldwide with the necessary medication every second.

Chemical production site with a mission

The chemical production site in Geel plays a special role within the J&J network. Besides producing APIs, the site also has the task of chemically developing new drugs and growing their volumes. New technologies and installations have been designed and installed in recent years for this purpose. The Chemical Development Pilot Plant (CDPP) is a good example of this. In the production of new active pharmaceutical ingredients, this special production plant forms the bridge between API production on a lab scale and commercial API production on a large scale. The plant produces the necessary APIs for clinical testing in smaller quantities. After approval of a new drug, the job of the CDPP is to optimize the production process and prepare for production on a larger scale.

Factory of the future

In order to continue to fulfill its strategic role as a launch and growth site, the Geel site invests annually in new technologies and in the education and training of employees. In 2019, our chemical production site received the Factory of the Future Award (of action plan Made Different) by taking the lead in new technologies and modes of production. In the current strategy, two elements are crucial: open innovation and a patient-oriented approach. The site works closely with Janssen Research & Development, other companies and universities. The site worked together with R&D to apply innovative spray-drying technology to convert chemical solutions into a compact powder, which increases the bioavailability of a drug in the body. For example, this means that some patients no longer have to take 20 large tablets every day as a treatment for their disease. This increases compliance and comfort for the patient.

Lean and sustainable production

'Lean' (or more efficient) production is one of the top priorities of our Geel site. By applying these principles consistently, we hope to produce more with the same resources in the short term. Working more efficiently is one of our cornerstones. At the same time, we not only focus on social and economic sustainability, but also on ecological sustainability. For Janssen, ecological sustainability starts with the development of new products by fully devoting ourselves to green chemistry and green technology. Together with InOpSys, we have developed sustainable solutions for wastewater treatment. The project received the grand prize at the Belgian Business Awards for the Environment in 2018. In collaboration with EDF Luminus, a windmill was installed at the Geel site. Thanks to this turbine, 20% of the electricity required will be renewable. Following an upgrade, production plant 3 was awarded LEED® certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), becoming the first chemical production plant in Europe to do so. These are just a few examples of how we are committed to the environment.