Pharmaq opens Oslo-area vaccine factory

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Pharmaq has opened a new production facility for vaccines in tiny Klofta, the community 40 minutes north of Oslo that it chose above other European locations.

Due to tight anti-pathogen rules, Pharmaq held the site’s grand opening in a party tent across the street.

“It’s an important milestone for Pharmaq, and it’s an important event for the biotechnology industry in Norway,” Pharmaq president, Morten Nordstad said in his welcome speech. He pointed out that the vaccine market was growing, and the new plant would better equip Pharmaq to meet everyday demand.

Morten Nordstrand, Pharmaq president

According to the company, the new facility can produce several hundred vaccine doses yearly. Up to 25 people will be employed. “This virus factory will be a cornerstone in our strategy. With this factory, we secure supplies of vaccines for years to come,” Nordstad said.

The site was chose for its proximity to R&D communities in Oslo and for its logistics along the highway from the capital to the main international airport, Gadermoen. It was especially valuable to be near the company’s Overhalla office, where bacterial antigens are produced and vaccines are made ready for use.

The 2000-square-meter building took just over a year to build and cost 150 million kroner. It includes a 250 sq. m quality control lab and a 400 sq. m cleanroom.

On November 1st, 2017, Pharmaq received permission to produce a new anti-viral vaccine at the new site.

Clint Lewis, president of operations in Zoetis, took the trip to Norway from Dublin. Zoetis bought Pharmaq in November 2015.

Iinside Pharmaq’s vaccine factory

“This factory symbolizes a clear duty. Not just to local society, but also our duty to continue to support the aquaculture industry. Not just here in Norway, but also globally,” Lewis told the assembly.

He had just one complaint about the choice of locality.

“I would have preferred a warmer place,” the American said before sitting down in the first row.