Rentschler Biopharma Project Wins ENR New England Best Project Award

Milford, MA

January 22, 2024

A project that has more than doubled Rentschler Biopharma’s global manufacturing capacity earned the project team a 2023 New England Best Project award from Engineering News-Record (ENR) in the Manufacturing category. Surmounting difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team completed the project on schedule and under budget in March 2023—augmenting the German biopharmaceutical company’s Milford, MA, facility with a 45,000-square-foot building expansion and a 10,000-square-foot retrofit of existing space.

Side-by-side aerial images showing buildings and surrounding land and trees

As the design team’s civil engineering consultant, VHB guided the project’s site design, environmental permitting, stormwater management, and parking improvement efforts. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted the project for more than a year, the project team navigated supply chain slowdowns as they continued buying materials. When the project resumed, their communication-forward design-build approach allowed them to compress the construction schedule to 20 months and kept them nimble in troubleshooting issues. With weekly meetings, team members coordinated closely throughout construction, making on-the-fly design decisions as needed to facilitate efficient project delivery.     

VHB’s engineers made a vital contribution to streamlining the project with a creative solution for a laydown area for construction vehicles and equipment. Using part of the project site that had been previously cleared and rough graded for an intended parking lot saved the time, effort, and environmental impact of clear-cutting forest and importing substantial volumes of fill.

“This project’s success is a testament to the value of thorough planning and strong collaboration and communication not only amongst the project team, but also with the Town of Milford,“ said Rich Whitehouse, Jr., ENV SP, VHB’s Project Manager. “This is not only a big achievement for Rentschler Biopharma and the MetroWest region with its increasing life sciences influence, but it’s also a success story for the Town. With its development-friendly approach and supportive staff, this relatively small town demonstrated why an international company chose to expand its operations here.” 

The project’s state-of-the-art expansion exponentially advances Rentschler Biopharma’s development of innovative treatments to combat serious diseases like COVID-19, adding capacity for four bioreactors and 22,000 square feet of clean room space. Notably, it will create at least 75 new full-time jobs, contributing to economic growth for Milford and the region. Designed by architect CRB Group and constructed by general contractor Commodore Builders, the facility’s addition features two stories and a utility mezzanine supported by three space-saving continuous trusses in place of columns. The team was able to deliver the expansion project with minimal disruption to the manufacturing facility’s operations. 

ENR, one of the engineering and construction industry's most authoritative publications, featured Best Projects winners in an ENR New England issue and honored them at an awards event in Boston, MA, in December.

Connect with Rich Whitehouse to learn more about this project, and visit ENR’s New England Awards page to see the full list of the 2023 New England Best Project award winners.