An AstraZeneca manufacturing facility in China was named Overall Winner at the 2015 Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA), run by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

The solid dose facility in Taizhou was built to manufacture five billion tablets of high-quality, affordable medicines per year for the Chinese market.

ISPE said that the 533,000-square-foot plant was completed in a record time of 20 months, coming in 18 percent under budget, and has maintained a safety record of 3.26 million hours worked without a recordable incident.

“We were impressed by the team’s clear strategic plan and well-defined expectations, which allowed for the creation of this large facility in such a short amount of time,” said Jim Breen, chair of the FOYA judging panel.

The Taizhou project incorporated lean design principles aimed at eliminating operational inefficiencies and delivering optimum manufacturing performance. What’s more, the facility far exceeded local environmental regulations and AstraZeneca’s own standards with a 99 percent Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) removal rate from API-containing wastewater.

“The Taizhou Supply Site Project is the perfect representation of the FOYA program,” commented ISPE president and CEO John Bournas. “AstraZeneca China’s mission to deliver high-quality pharmaceuticals to China’s growing population was carried out seamlessly through first-rate global engineering and operational organization. It demonstrates visionary pharmaceutical excellence undertaken in an emerging market.”

Two further phases of construction at the site could increase its production capacity to nine billion tablets per year.