- Workplace

Cambrex: Delivering world-class pharma facilities





Siobhan Davitt
Stephen Miles


Cambrex provides a contract research and development service to the pharmaceutical industry. The laboratory design needed to be optimal for employees working within the laboratory and for clients visiting the facility.

From their facility in Edinburgh, Cambrex scientists provide world-class solid-form screening programmes, including studies such as salt screening, polymorph screening, co-crystal screening, crystallization screening and further specialised screening activities.

In order to support their future growth, we were commissioned to expand the laboratories from 3,000 ft2 to 7,500 ft2, and to redesign the original laboratory space to meet both current and future business.

The main challenge was to ensure that the building would remain operational during the works. The new laboratories also required high ventilation rates to provide the make-up air for the new fume cupboards and potent fume cupboards.

Approach + Solution

We led the process through a series of weekly workshops with the Cambrex team, gaining an understanding of the type of work carried out and how people and processes flowed through the lab. We sought to understand the limitations of the current layout and their detailed workflows.

Initially, we focussed on the practicalities of the existing laboratory area to improve workflow efficiencies. Through the workshops, we expanded the client’s initial ambitions to create an excellent workplace, developing the aesthetic of one connected lab and designing new shopfronts for their screening processes.

To meet the challenges of keeping the facility open, we agreed a carefully phased construction plan with the client and contractor. Each phase was delivered over the course of a long weekend and successfully went from a building site to a fully functioning lab from the Friday to the Monday.

“As scientists, we focussed on the practicalities of the laboratory area, neglecting aesthetics. The design process, led by ADP, improved our understanding of how to create both a functional and pleasant working environment for Cambrex scientists.”