Jacobs Wins PDH/Gene Therapy Contracts

11.01.2018 -

Jacobs Engineering has won a contract to complete a front-end engineering design (FEED) study for Borealis’ proposed propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Belgium. The FEED phase is scheduled to complete by the middle of this year.

The award follows completion of a feasibility study, which Jacobs also carried out and completed last year. The 740,000 t/y PDH unit will be built at Kallo, near Antwerp, where Borealis has an existing PDH plant producing 480,000 t/y of propylene.

“A new and innovative PDH plant of this scale would be a significant investment in the chemical industry in Europe and a response to market demand for polypropylene and propylene,” said Vinayak Pai, petroleum and chemicals president at Jacobs.

Separately, Jacobs announced that it had been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract from major drugmaker Pfizer for a new gene therapy manufacturing plant in Sanford, North Carolina, USA.

Under the terms of the deal, Jacobs will design, build and qualify the multi-product facility, as well as provide expediting and commissioning services. A timescale for the project was not given.

Pfizer is spending $100 million on the plant, which will create 40 new jobs and build upon technology first developed at the University of North Carolina in the US. A performance-based grant of $250,000 from the One North Carolina Fund has been awarded to Pfizer’s wholly owned subsidiary Wyeth Holdings to help facilitate the expansion. Wyeth, which operates the Sanford site, became part of Pfizer in 2009.
Gene therapy is an important area of focus for Pfizer. In 2016, the company acquired Bamboo Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home to the university, that is focused on developing gene therapies for treating patients with certain rare diseases related to neuromuscular conditions and those affecting the central nervous system.