Hollister-Stier Laboratories LLC, the Spokane-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, has decided to double to $8 million the size of a planned upgrade thats aimed at enhancing its ability to produce drugs in commercial-sized quantities.
Hollister-Stier, which employs about 250 people at its northeast Spokane plant at 3525 N. Regal, announced in November its plans to spend $4 million on a project that would involve adding a commercial-scale, freeze-drying unit to the plant. Based on growing industry demand for such work, the company now has decided to add two such units, says President and CEO Tony Bonanzino.
Much of the clinical work we do uses a freeze-drying process, Bonanzino said in November.
He explained that when the trial period for a drug is completed, and clinical validation is over, Hollister-Stier can be looking at additional orders of a size that quickly uses up all of its available clinical freeze-drying capacity. The new units will allow the company to make larger batches. The company, which made a name for itself by producing allergens, has experienced success of late in landing contract manufacturing work for other pharmaceutical makers. Bonanzino says its contract-manufacturing volume soared 900 percent last year and is expected to grow sharply again this year.
Most of the cost of the $8 million project will go toward buying and installing the freeze-drying equipment. Work is to begin this spring to prepare space in the plant for both units, then the first unit will be installed, Bonanzino says. The second unit likely wont be installed until 2003, he says. The overall process is expected to take between 18 months and 24 months to complete.
The company plans to seek bids for the remodeling work soon.
Hollister-Stier has said that as a result of the planned upgrades, it would hire 12 management-level employees who will be involved in the companys growing contract-manufacturing operation.
The planned project closely follows the completion of a $1.4 million clean room that the company uses for small-quantity pharmaceutical manufacturing.
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