Takeda Lessines

Takeda says yes to Belgium with a new sustainable biotechnology production facility in Lessines

Interview with Geoffrey Pot, General Manager Operations, Takeda Lessines

At the end of August, Takeda inaugurated a new production facility at its global manufacturing site in Lessines, Belgium. The inauguration ceremony was attended by government officials as well as representatives of public authorities, industry and patient organizations.

The new Takeda facility allows the production of treatments for patients with rare diseases, in particular a plasma-derived therapy for patients suffering from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Alongside improving the lives of patients with rare diseases, we find out more about the importance of this new investment from Geoffrey Pot, General Manager Operations for the Takeda Lessines site and President of bio.be.

Why has Takeda decided to make further investments at its Lessines site? What were the Belgian site’s strengths that attracted this €118 million investment?

This investment is part of Takeda’s global efforts to implement the most innovative technologies and most sustainable processes to manufacture treatments for rare diseases. Takeda Lessines has a legacy of almost 50 years of continued investments in processes and in its people. We thrive on the strong worldwide reputation of the industry in Belgium. It is thanks to a fruitful collaboration of the academic world, public authorities and businesses that Belgium plays a strategic role in pharmaceutical research and development and the production and distribution of new therapies.

Geoffrey Pot

We thrive on the strong worldwide reputation of the industry in Belgium. It is thanks to a fruitful collaboration of the academic world, public authorities and businesses that Belgium plays a strategic role in pharmaceutical research and development and the production and distribution of new therapies.

Geoffrey Pot, General Manager Operations, Takeda Lessines

A second core consideration at the site is to make use of the newest technologies to lower the impact of our operations on the environment. As a company, we have an example to set given the urgency of global warming. We are therefore also taking a big step towards the digitalization of our operations at the Lessines site. This will not only allow us to ensure optimal traceability and high and constant quality levels, but also to continuously learn and improve our paperless processes.

You talk about sustainable production and distribution of new treatments. Do you have any climate targets set for this new facility in Lessines?

Yes. In Lessines, we are realizing several larger-scale initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions. This year, we are installing more than 8,000 solar panels, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 700 families, and we are studying the possibility of installing wind turbines to cover our energy consumption.

In recent months, we have created a water recovery system in collaboration with a local Belgian start-up, which will allow us to reduce our municipal water consumption by 90%, the equivalent of the annual consumption of 18,000 people.

With the Lessines site and our 1,200 employees, we are one of the forerunners in the debate on sustainable manufacturing in the industry. We are already carbon neutral in our operations and work on science-based climate targets, intending to become a zero-carbon operation on the site by 2030.

With the Lessines site and our 1,200 employees, we are one of the forerunners in the debate on sustainable manufacturing in the industry.

- Geoffrey Pot, General Manager Operations, Takeda Lessines site

Can we expect you to continue to invest in sustainable solutions and take action to preserve the planet? 

Absolutely, there is still a lot to do! With our team in Lessines, we are fully aligned on our internal focus on the three Ps: Patients, People and Planet. We have the ambition to pursue our efforts to better care for patients while investing and developing our employees and doing what is necessary to save the planet.

About Geoffrey Pot

Geoffrey studied Pharmacy / Industrial Pharmacy and has more than 15 years of experience in the biotech environment. He followed an International Management Degree at Vlerick Business School and has a natural passion for innovation and digital. He has held several roles of increasing responsibility in quality, operational excellence, project management, manufacturing and innovation. Geoffrey is Vice-President and the General Manager for the Lessines manufacturing plant (>1200 employees) where Takeda produces lifesaving medication. He is also the President of Belgian Biotech Industries (bio.be/essenscia) and chair of multiple international conferences.