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2022 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo

SES114c - 2023 FOYA Winner: Janssen Biologics B.V., Upscaling to Large-scale COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing in 1-year and 1-day

Oct 31, 2022 3:30pm ‐ Oct 31, 2022 5:00pm


As COVID-19 started to spread across the world, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) initiated global efforts to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. Soon, successful vaccine candidates were developed. To provide the world with COVID-19 vaccines, J&J needed to increase production capacity. Janssen Biologics, a production facility of biotherapeutics and vaccines in Leiden and part of J&J, was identified to potentially have this capacity. To become one of the main suppliers of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Vaccines Facility (VF) needed to be expanded at a fast pace.

A project team was installed to build a new, 25,000-square-foot sterile manufacturing facility adjacent to the existing VF. The plans available at the time aimed to expand the facility in five to seven years. However, the current health crisis drove Janssen to develop an enhanced, fast track project plan. The plan aimed for building a brand-new facility and getting it fully operational in twelve months.

These timelines were challenging. But the team did it all within 1 year and 1 day. Hans Weverling, program lead, and James Shovlin, responsible for engineering readiness, will share their key learnings. These learnings include the importance of internal expertise of a dedicated team and an agile mindset, in combination with good collaboration with trusted external partners to bring the best solutions, and efficient cooperation with (local) authorities to pursue all regulatory steps in record time.


  • James Shovlin, Director Project Management - Engineering & Property Services, J&J
  • Hans Weverling, Project Director Strategic Projects, Janssen Biologics BV (The Neterlands)

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