BE&K Building Group, under a design-build contract with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, provided design and construction services for Medicago’s 97,600 sf cGMP Vaccine Research | Production Facility and Greenhouse. KBR Building Group’s design partner was Clark Nexsen.

The facility, designed to research and produce plant-based commercial-grade vaccines, includes a 27,000 sf fully automated greenhouse and headhouse, as well as extensive laboratory, production and office space. This revolutionary hybrid facility represents the intersection of some of the most advanced science in biotechnology and pharmaceutical vaccine research and production.

Medicago’s greenhouse has a plant capacity of 90,000 plants and incorporates customized robotics and infiltration equipment. A stateof-the-art extraction and purification unit was also installed. An evaporative greenhouse cooling system controls the environmental conditions to the exact specifications required by the plants and Medicago’s processes. Greenhouse system controls were also coordinated with automated plant processing equipment ensuring proper cycling and re-positioning of plants as needed during Medicago’s processes.

A complex fertigation system irrigates and fertilizes the plants, while also recycling residual water not absorbed into the soils and plants. To prevent any hazardous material from infiltrating the municipal sanitary sewer, a three-component system was implemented that separates, filters, and/or cleans any by-product of the facility where fertilizers or chemicals may be present. A stainless steel USP grade water system provides Medicago a full-featured, auto-sanitizing system.

Construction included several components critical to Medicago’s production process and science. Class A (1,000), B (10,000) and C (100,000) modular clean rooms were constructed of prefinished metal wall and ceiling panels. The metal ceiling panels were structural, therefore “walkable” once installed.

To ensure proper air quality, certain areas utilize 100% exhaust air while others utilize re-circulated air, resulting in a sophisticated network of ducting in the facility’s interstitial space.

Exterior elevations incorporate multi-colored stacked banding in modular-sized brick accentuating vertical circulation, while contrasting with a field of black utility-sized brick. Curtain wall with
dark frames and dark-tinted glazing carves out the mass at corners and intersections of vertical circulation. By inserting and slightly recessing the areas of multi-colored

  • Owner:Medicago
  • Location:Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Project Type:Design-Build