Design for a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine production facility

Design for a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine production facility

In response to the global pandemic and the urgent need for mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine, our client—a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO)—sought CRB’s support for facility design services. CRB provided design services to fit out an existing shell with three new production kits for an mRNA vaccine. Our client began GMP production in the first kit just eight months from project kick-off as a result of close collaboration between our multi-national design team—with our local team in Basel, Switzerland serving as the boots on the ground through all phases of the project supported by our team in the United States— key project stakeholders, and equipment vendors.

Two of the main challenges included designing for a process that was constantly evolving and procuring long-lead equipment items under intense schedule pressures.

CRB engaged with the vaccine developer’s partner to understand the process for manufacturing the vaccine. Our team was able to translate the evolving process requirements into flexible and adaptable floor plans that enabled the team to lock the layout and start procurement of long-lead items.

Because of this approach to long-lead procurement planning and a shared commitment with key vendors (who gave vaccine manufacturers priority), long-lead equipment items were delivered in less than six months.

Other factors that enabled an accelerated timeline included:

  • Close collaboration between our team, the CDMO and their EPCM lead during the concept phase to develop the 3D model, architectural floor plans, and all required facility and utility flows.
  • Our ongoing support for the EPCM contractor during the detailed design phase through model coordination, process design, and clean utilities design.
  • Assistance with a universal utility panel and interdisciplinary connections that enabled construction to begin in parallel with design.

In addition to leading the project throughout the design phase, CRB team members based in Basel supported the client through start-up, commissioning, and qualification process.

Project Details


Confidential Client



Square Meters



CHF 210 million

 Return to top