Boehringer Ingelheim opens Respimat plant in Catalonia

By Murielle Gonzalez 17-Jun-2019

Facility in Sant Cugat, 30-minute drive northwest of Barcelona, will produce 25 million units per year; more than half the annual global Respimat sales

Boehringer's executives welcome Quim Torra, President of the Catalan Government

German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim has opened a new production plant in Barcelona, Spain. Located in Sant Cugat del Vallès, the facility will produce and pack Respimat, an inhaler for administering the drugs marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim for patients with asthma and COPD.

With an investment of more than €120 million, the new Respimat factory will create up to 200 new jobs. More than 25 companies were engaged in the construction process.

The new plant in Catalonia will produce 25 million units per year—more than half the annual global Respimat sales—and will be distributed to more than 100 countries, including all Europe, the United States, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Canada.

Peter Ploeger, Managing Director of Boehringer Ingelheim Spain, commented: “This new plant is a recognition of the excellence and professionalism of hundreds of workers who, through their dedication, efforts, and commitment, have positioned the Boehringer Ingelheim facilities in Sant Cugat as one of the Group’s European innovation hubs, and a global leader due to its excellence, quality and environmental standards."

With the first stone placed in 2017, the project is a testament of what is known as a “fast-track” project. The planning, which involved more than 300 people and 25 different providers, enabled the plant to be operational at the end of 2019, only two years after the work started.

Industry 4.0 and R&D

The facilities stand on an area of 17,000 sqm divided into production areas, laboratories, a warehouse, offices and technical areas.

For Boehringer, the Respimat plant’s methodology and processes are an example of the latest industry innovations, the gamut from serialisation and aggregation processes, and electronic manufacturing guides.

The manufacturing equipment includes technologies specific to Industry 4.0, such as digitalisation, systems integration, robotics, and a high level of automation. Furthermore, the plant meets the highest quality and environmental protection requirements.

Maria Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, in the delegation touring the facility

Only in 2018, the company invested more than €3.2 billion in R+D+i globally—18.1% of its total net sales— and involved more than 8,500 scientists, technicians and staff dedicated to research and technical development.

In the same year, the R+D+i budget item for Spain was €86.1 million.

Respimat portfolio

Respimat is the inhaler used to administer the drugs marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim for patients with EPOC or asthma, which include Spiolto (tiotropium/olodaterol), Spiriva (tiotropium), Striverdi (olodaterol), Combivent (ipratropium bromide/albuterol) and Berodual (ipratropium bromide) / fenoterol.

Free from propellants and aided by the patient’s own inhalation, the drug is deeply deposited in the lungs of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

The Respimat technology administers the medication through a soft mist, instead of propellant. As a result, the drug is absorbed through the patient’s own inhalation—with no effort required— deeply depositing itself in the lungs of patients with COPD and asthma.

The video below, in Spanish, showcases the manufacturing capabilities of the new plant.

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Boehringer hosted the opening ceremony in the presence of the President of the Catalan Government, Quim Torra, and Maria Reyes Maroto, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, among other guests.