The company announced the inauguration of the expanded and modernized plant last week, the culmination of an €80m ($117m) renovation project kicked off at the site in 2005. The expansion became necessary as the existing plant approached the limit of its production capacity. With improvements in biopharmaceutical processing came increased fermentation yields, causing a bottleneck in downstream processing. As a result, the firm initiated an expansion plan focusing on expanding downstream processing capacity i.e. purification of protein active substances. The investment was intended to cover the switch to new process technologies and modernisation of the existing plant (including process control systems) as well as increasing purification capacity. The renovated site includes seven biopharmaceutical production floors at the company's Biberach R&D and Biotechnology site. Boehringer had already doubled capacity at the site in 2004, and invested over €255m in a production facility for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) derived from mammalian cell culture processes. The two manufacturing plants at Biberach complement the firm's Austrian biotech site in Vienna, and are used not only for the production of Boehringer Ingelheim's own products but also those of its collaborators through contract manufacturing arrangements. The large scale manufacturing site focuses on biopharmaceutical products such as therapeutic proteins, fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies among others, with the cell culture systems used at the site producing yields "well above industry standard" according to Boehringer. According to the company, the Biberach site is Europe's largest biopharmaceutical plant for the development and manufacture of therapeutic proteins from mammalian cell cultures. The firm claims it is the only company worldwide that provides the entire biotechnical process chain, from early development to large scale manufacturing, global registration and marketing. Earlier in the month the company also reported that it had received US regulatory approval for the manufacture of a biological drug in pre-filled syringes. As well as the first biologic supplied in ready-to-use syringes to be manufactured by Boehringer, the approval also expands the company's contract manufacturing portfolio.