Production and distribution

Production and distribution

Janssen produces and distributes high-quality treatments for patients in Belgium and throughout the world. Also, in this phase of the cycle do we innovate continuously. We do so on the basis of high-tech production processes and with a particular focus on digitalization, circular economy and renewable energy. 

Our production facilities are located in Beerse, Geel and Olen. With our distribution centers in La Louvière and Courcelles, Belgium is the central hub for the distribution of all our activities in Europe. The Beerse site is even our worldwide hub for the distribution of clinical equipment.

Innovation in production

The second-largest pharmaceutical production site of the Janssen Supply Chain in Europe is located on our Janssen site in Beerse. Beerse is the center of the production of a wide range of products, such as products in liquid and semi-solid form, transdermal and sterile products. Due to the high production volumes, this is a high-volume site. Our Beerse site is also an important innovation hub thanks to a number of advanced processes. One example is our continuous production technology,1 which allows us to produce very large quantities in a much shorter time span. 

The Janssen site in Geel is a high-tech, chemical production site that is responsible for no less than 60% of the total worldwide production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). All medicines consist of two core components: the active pharmaceutical ingredient and the excipients, the substances that help our body to absorb the medicines. At our site in Geel, 26 different types of active ingredients and three semi-finished medicines are produced, accounting for more than 200 tons of active pharmaceutical substances annually. In Geel, there is a particular focus on medicines for extremely complex syndromes, ranging from specific forms of HIV to certain types of prostate cancer.

In order to do this efficiently but also responsibly, we continue to invest continuously in the latest technologies and in educating and training our employees. Digital spray drying, an absolute world first for Belgium, was one of these innovative technologies that led us to receive the Factory of the Future Award from Action Plan Made Different in 2019.3

Birk Vanderweeën

Former Site Lead Geel Production Site

Spray drying

Sustainable production

Because we use many different materials, we are constantly looking for ways to make our production processes more efficient and sustainable. For example, we are looking at how we can deal with our waste streams more consciously according to the principles of the circular economy and, where possible, even convert this waste back into raw materials.  Together with InOpSys, a start-up that deals with the reduction of toxic waste, we have developed sustainable solutions for the purification of our process water. The 'Plant on a truck' project received the top prize at the 2018 Belgian Business Awards for the Environment.4 In this way, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint but also collaborating with innovative partners to promote the development of sustainable production processes further.

New innovative R&D platforms: CAR-T

Technological and scientific (r)evolution continues at a lightning pace. Personalized medicine, in which the patient receives a tailor-made therapy, is an important, new trend. These innovative treatments hold out the prospect of promising results for the patient, but they also follow a unique and differentiated production process. Janssen's CAR-T investment in Belgium demonstrates that our country can also play an important role in this area.  

Distribution to Europe and the rest of the world

The distribution centers in Belgium play an important role in the European and worldwide distribution of medicines, vaccines, and medical instruments. These three centers - Beerse, La Louvière and Courcelles - are deliberately located in a relatively small geographical area. In fact, La Louvière and Courcelles are barely 20 kilometers apart. In the past, distribution was done from 15 local centers, spread all over Europe. By bringing the distribution of all medicines and vaccines produced in Europe together in one place, we are improving the logistics process. Belgium is thus the European distribution center for treatments and medical instruments available on the market. With regard to the material used in clinical studies - i.e., for a registration - we are even the global 'distribution hub'.

From Belgium, more than 10,000 hospitals, wholesalers and pharmacies in several Western European countries are supplied with 24-hour distribution, totaling approximately 30,000 orders per month. The production and shipping of medicines are done according to the highest quality standards. Indeed, we have the ambition to be 'best in class' in our sector. Therefore, we work closely with our production facilities to guarantee '1 order, 1 delivery, 1 invoice' in order to provide the best possible service to all those who wish to use our medicines, vaccines and medical instruments. 

COVID-19: Additional storage capacity for the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19: Stock During COVID-19

COVID-19: Production of disinfectant hand fluid in Geel

SDG 7: Sustainable and affordable energy