Tennessee packaging company drops $21M into ‘state-of-the-art’ facility for push into cold chain, biologics

With the demand for American-made drugs high, companies up and down the supply chain are dropping major down payments to keep up. Tennessee’s Aphena Pharma Solutions is now taking a step in that direction with a “state-of-the-art” packaging facility of its own. 

Aphena dropped $21 million into a 500,000-square-foot distribution and packaging facility in Cookeville, Tennessee, that will allow the company to expand into cold-chain storage and biologics, Aphena said Wednesday. 

The facility has already started operations, but Aphena is working on a round of renovations that will be ready for rollout by February, the company said.


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Those expansion plans include installing 24 high-speed bottling lines and eight thermoform blister packaging lines as well as at least 200,000 square feet of warehouse space to provide “a strong foundation for a new, third-party logistics program for current and future customers,” Aphena said in a release.

While slim on precise numbers, Aphena said the Cookeville expansion will create a “very large employment opportunity” for the region. 

RELATED: Nephron looks to break into COVID-19 vaccine territory with $216M investment

Aphena’s big investment in Tennessee isn’t the only major pharma expansion in the mid-Atlantic region this year.

In July, South Carolina-based generics maker Nephron Pharmaceuticals pumped $215.8 million into its vaccine fill-finish capacity and warehousing space as part of an expansion effort in the state.

The drugmaker aims to employ 380 new workers at the Saxe-Gotha Industrial Park site in Lexington County by 2024, Nephron said in a release.

According to CEO Lou Kennedy, Nephron’s newest expansion follows a period of explosive growth around its generic inhalation and suspension products—some of which are used to treat COVID-19 patients—since the company moved its headquarters to South Carolina in 2015. Nephron is also the largest 503(b) outsourcing facility in the U.S. that produces medicines for hospital shortages, Kennedy said at the time.

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