$21 Million Investment Expands Aphena’s Bottling, Cold Chain Storage Capabilities


Just over a year after approving a $7 million initiative for expansion of its manufacturing space and custom blending suites, Aphena Pharma announced in late September that it has started a $21 million expansion project of its Solid Dose Division in its Cookeville, Tennessee, headquarters. 

The expansion is part of the company’s acquisition of a 500,000-square-foot property that Aphena will renovate “into a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical and packaging and distribution facility.” The new acquisition adds 258,000 square feet to the Aphena’s Cookeville headquarters and extends the company’s entrance into biologics, cold chain storage and third-party logistics distribution. Aphena says the expansion will likely be completed by February 1, whereas operations at the new facility are set to start sometime in August 2021.

“This new facility will make Aphena a top contender in the pharmaceutical contract service space, starting with over 12,000 pallets of cold chain storage capacity,” according to a statement made by Aphena’s EVP of Sales, Eric Allen. “Being able to offer turnkey packaging and distribution services for biologic products, plus expanding the current operations with newly innovated bottling and packaging lines, will continue to attract key pharmaceutical customers to the Middle Tennessee area.”

The new multi-million-dollar expansion will involve the installation of 24 high-speed bottling lines as well as eight thermoform blister packaging lines. Aphena, one of the key players operating global manufacturing of hydroxychloroquine drugs, among other therapies, also announced in February that it had expanded its bottling capacity with the addition of a new solid-dose bottling line with an integrated cartoner, but the company expects this new expansion project will offer an even greater increase in bottling productivity.

While this news represents a big move for the company, this wasn’t the only expansion project for Aphena this year. In March, the company also acquired a 54,000-square-foot facility which was added to a 110,000-square-foot facility at the company’s Easton, Marlyand, location. The company purchased the new facility from Konsyl Pharmaceuticals after its divestment in 2019. In addition to the renovations required for this Maryland-based setup, the acquisition cost Aphena around $12.5 million. “This new facility will allow Aphena to own 27 acres, establishing a long-term pharmaceutical campus for all future growth needs,” Allen said. “And, since it was formerly a pharmaceutical facility, it’s a perfect fit for us with blending and packaging suites all supported by a large, climate-controlled warehouse.”

“This expansion is exciting news for Aphena, our customers and our communities,” Aphena’s CEO Shawn Reilley said in a statement. “The Solid Dose Division and recent Liquids Division expansions will establish Aphena’s position as one of the most diversified manufacturing and packaging companies in the pharmaceutical industry. These growth strategies will continue to offer our customers expanded project capabilities at every level, and it will create a very large employment opportunity, both in Cookeville and at our facility in Easton, Maryland.” 

And although the “very big” opportunity for employment is promising for job seekers in the region, the company did not elaborate in their statement on the number of jobs the new expansion may create. However, a previous news report noted that Aphena stated the expansion will add up to 160 new jobs over the next five years.

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