Facility buildout does not always begin with bricks, says Genentech

The buildout of a facility ends with technology choices but starts with a purpose, vision, and people, says Roche’s Genentech.  

Genentech — part of the Roche Group — broke ground on a $450 million expansion at its Oceanside, California site in February 2023; a site it says will work in unison with the recently completed $250 million Clinical Supply Center in South San Francisco (SSF). 

But when thinking about building a facility, the question “where are we going with the future?” must be asked, said Jeff Davis, executive director, head of SFF Clinical Supply Center at Genentech.

Speaking at BPI West 2023 in San Diego, California yesterday, Davis explained that historically factories have focused on economy of scale. While this approach will be needed for some future sites, he put forward the idea that “we need to supplement them with personalized treatment [facilities] and to do this, we need to create an overall approach and start to design facilities thinking about the future needs.”  

Though the physical buildout and selection of technology for the facility is incredibly important, Davis said Genentech’s approach “ends with technology choices but starts with our purpose, vision, and people.”  

In terms of people, he outlined engagement, flexibility, and speed as criteria that has been identified as markers of success. In addition to this, he said Genentech needs to “make sure we create a welcoming environment, and we need to be able to adapt and adjust” in a rapidly changing world.  

Company culture  

To decide on design criteria, Davis said Genentech thought about its company culture, what it will look like in the future, how it can be built, how it can be reinforced, and “how do we adjust it overtime, as culture is not a static organization.” 

Davis claimed the task of looking into company culture before making constructional decisions means “you then can move to being able to sort the organizational structure” of the facility and thus, then “step into building competency” so employees have the ability and confidence to thrive in the plant once operational.