Rentschler biopharma Manufacturing Center

Milford, Mass.


Submitted by: Commodore Builders

Owner: Rentschler Biopharma

Lead Design Firm: CRB Group

General Contractor: Commodore Builders

Civil Engineer: VHB

Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers

MEP Engineer: BR+A Consulting Engineers

Mechanical Contractor: DECCO Inc.

Subcontractors: Interstate Electric Services Corp.; Charles Services and Equipment Corp.; Lawton Welding Co.; T.J. McCartney Inc.; The Welch Corp.

Featuring a 45,000-sq-ft, two-level building expansion with a 10,000-sq-ft retrofit of existing space, this project more than doubles Rentschler Biopharma’s commercial cGMP biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity aimed at treating multiple diseases, such as cancer and COVID-19.

Completed in 20 months in March 2023, the new facility supports “fed batch” production, an operational technique where nutrients are supplied to a bioreactor during cultivation of up to two products at the 2000 L scale, with 22,000 sq ft of manufacturing clean room space, a cell culture room and support areas for four 2000 L single-use bioreactors.

Rentschler biopharma Manufacturing Center

Photo courtesy of Commodore Builders

Functionality drove project design. As an addition to an existing facility, it was essential that any new portions were tied into the active material and personnel flow without disruption or changes to existing processes. Corridor arrangements support a unidirectional flow of staff and materials, while new office spaces provide better access for employees responsible for the new clean room suites.

Working through a concurrent design and construction schedule as well as active manufacturing and supply chain issues, the entire project team worked collaboratively from Day 1 to keep design development and the critical project path aligned.

Instead of a lengthy RFI process, when issues arose, decision-makers were quickly identified and put on a call to discuss next steps. The results were then documented and distributed via RFIs to ensure team alignment.

Rentschler biopharma Manufacturing Center

Photo courtesy of Commodore Builders

Coordination was vital as work progressed within an active facility and on a constrained site. During the eight-month MEP coordination process, the design team and engineers joined every weekly meeting with trade partners. Having everyone in the room simultaneously allowed for efficient and effective problem-solving in real time.

To ensure that the facility could remain operational throughout the project’s duration, the team implemented an alternate power infrastructure to keep the existing facility live while the new expansion system came online.

Through daily touchpoints, crews coordinated shutdowns and maximized previously scheduled maintenance to avoid additional disruptions.

Use of prefabricated components and system assemblies across multiple trades allowed the project team to shave weeks off the schedule while also decreasing safety hazards by bringing in these sections during scheduled deliveries.

One such element was a prefabricated walkable ceiling structure above the clean rooms and mechanical mezzanine that provides a large maintenance space for the client to service these areas from above, reducing cross-contamination during the manufacturing process.

Flexibility in the space’s layout was an important consideration as well.

The second level of the new building is supported by three continuous trusses, designed to eliminate the need for structural columns and maximize space in the production and mechanical rooms.

The project finished on schedule and below budget. The project team declined to disclose the project’s value.