IPS-Integrated Project Services LLC
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Joe Atwood
- Estimated reading time: 6 mins
Since 1989, IPS-Integrated Project Services LLC (IPS) has been providing specially catered services to a range of clientele. Based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, the firm serves as a leader in a distinct niche: setting the industry standard in the design, construction and qualification of compliant, safe and efficient projects for companies within the high-tech, biotechnology and pharmaceutical life sciences markets.
The fast-paced biopharmaceutical industry faces a host of challenges year after year. Its end-user customers require reliability when it comes to safe, effective drugs in all areas from antibiotics for common ailments and preventative vaccines, to highly specialized doses to treat severe or uncommon illnesses and conditions.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a running list of drug shortages and discontinuations that result from a range of supply chain issues. IPS works side-by-side with manufacturers to ensure smooth facility transitions and turnkey projects that reduce shortages and ensure that market demand is met for crucial medications.
A history of excellence
The company began as a biopharma design-build-validate firm started by two pharmaceutical project engineers to provide value driven project delivery. Over the years, the company has evolved — building a focus of optimizing client operations, maintaining quality and managing compliance for its critical market clients. In 2015, the firm has locations all over the world. In the U.S., there are offices in Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and North Carolina. Abroad, IPS reaches international clients via offices in Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore and China.
IPS offers consulting, design, engineering, project controls, procurement, construction management, and commissioning and qualification services for technically complex development and manufacturing facilities. The business not only allows clients to design and execute improvement projects, but also encourages internal development.
This integrated and finely honed approach to biopharmaceutical design, construction and compliance sets IPS apart from competitors. IPS lives, breathes and speaks biopharma, with expertise and a custom service philosophy far exceeding that of any other consulting, engineering or project manager serving the U.S. construction market.
IPS stresses a holistic integrated approach that tailors each solution to a client’s specific needs. The company’s in-house staff is multilingual and maintains global reach partnerships and alliances to assure a thorough understanding of, and compliance to, any and all regulations and guidelines.
Including the client in the process, thanks in part to technologies like building information modeling (BIM), IPS establishes a timeline that reflects any and all concerns and considerations.
The IPS team understands that every improvement adds up. The company developed a process dubbed “inceptioneering” that helps clients develop a visualized solution at an appropriate budget that still meets the client’s business drivers, quality and capital expenditure objectives. The process is part of the preliminary project formation stage that helps the IPS team jump-start the process solution development phase and regulatory compliance initiatives, saving the client time and money.
These services are particularly critical in the company’s niche markets: mission-critical, high-tech, biopharmaceutical, nutraceutical, nanotechnologies and semiconductor clients. Few firms have the experience necessary to create maximum value for these types of clients, making IPS the go-to partner for project owners and their teams.
“Every project has its challenges,” explains John Gilroy, senior vice president and principal of IPS. “We are in a highly technical field and there are new innovations and new ways of doing things all the time. We are constantly working to keep up relations with our vendors and strategic partners to help us maintain value and efficiency.”
As specifically a design firm, construction manager and consultant, IPS relies on a strong team of subcontractors and project partners to complete these complicated projects. “We have been fortunate to find the people we work with, including our employees, strategic partners, and vendors and subcontractors,” Gilroy adds. “We are looking at projects throughout the United States, in Brazil, Spain and the United Kingdom and we have people who are willing to travel.”
These strong internal and external relationships have kept the business growing for several years — a fact that Gilroy takes great pride in. “We are seeing growth in our company as well as the industry in which we work,” he explains. “Because we work in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, in the end we are helping to improve the lives of the patients.”
Adding value; reducing risk
Recent work includes a project for Pharmalucence at the pharmaceutical company’s new Aseptic Fill/Finish Facility in Billerica, Massachusetts. The facility earned an ISPE Facility of the Year Award Honorable Mention by integrating designs, optimizations and technologies that support both the growth of the owner firm and exceeding structural, sustainability and technological standards.
The project sought to meet short- and long-term business objectives by consolidating generic and contract manufacturing operations — formerly four buildings — into a single, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and EU requirements. The new facility consists of aseptic core, inspection and secondary packaging, along with an increased capacity and capability for biologics.
The IPS team utilized its combined expertise and knowledge of modular construction, lean construction methods, and integrated project delivery to ensure the project was successfully delivered, while meeting the client’s phase, schedule and cost objectives.
Beyond meeting the client’s requirements for the facility, IPS uncovered a new avenue for facilities-related shortage prevention. While many facilities are designed to serve a function, the Pharmalucence Aseptic Fill/Finish Facility in Billerica was designed for perpetual, consistent, high-quality, high-safety operation.
Throughout the execution of this design-build-validate package, IPS applied risk analysis, cutting-edge design and lean design and construction to improve efficiency and performance. The business combined quality by design and quantitative risk management methods with industry expertise and International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) technical requirements and quality guidelines.
The result is a facility that exceeds the industry standards for safety, efficiency and shortage prevention, standing out as a model for future projects. The facility has since been purchased by Sun Pharmaceuticals, which regards Pharmalucence as the foundation of its U.S. manufacturing operations. The project can easily be regarded as a business model for legacy facilities that can reduce and prevent drug shortages in the U.S. market.
The IPS team also recently completed a project for Catalent, expanding the company’s Winchester Facility in Winchester, Kentucky. Utilizing in-house expertise and another high-quality, integrated design, planning, construction and commissioning process, the firm was able to build a facility that anticipates future needs of the market while allowing for strategic internal expansion.
The scope of work on the Catalent project included providing detailed engineering, preconstruction, construction management and commissioning services to expand the facility’s solid dosage manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse capabilities.
The project was executed via a fast-track, multiphase approach and execution strategy. IPS bid key long-lead items, released multiple phased packages and managed the project construction to ensure the project was being designed and constructed to meet this accelerated schedule. IPS provided strategic value engineering to ensure the project cost was aligned with the project budget.
Staying on track
The team consistently performs high-quality, efficient and safe work, all following the company’s goal of helping customers reach their business’ market objectives. IPS has more than 20 service agreements with major pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Those relationships are critical and Gilroy and his colleagues strive to maintain them by meeting expectations on cost and quality. Over the coming years, Gilroy and his colleagues are seeking to sustain steady growth. He does not foresee any major expansion, noting that steady, measured expansion allows the business to serve its market effectively without compromising quality or value.
Through managed growth and continued relationships with clients and partners, IPS-Integrated Project Services LLC will continue to provide a wide range of project and optimization expertise to clients in the growing pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
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