Brownfield vs. Greenfield Facilities in Pharma

Brownfield vs. Greenfield Facilities in Pharma

The onset of a global pandemic and other factors are causing many U.S.-based pharmaceutical and medical device companies to evaluate whether to bring back manufacturing facility operations they’ve previously outsourced to other countries. In a time where ensuring quality is paramount, insourcing has the potential to allow these organizations to implement more stringent quality control standards. Deciding between a brownfield and greenfield strategy also optimizes logistics networks and reduces transportation costs, provided raw material suppliers are readily available.


A primary consideration when onshoring manufacturing is deciding whether to select a brownfield or greenfield site.


What Is a Brownfield Facility?


A brownfield manufacturing process utilizes a suitable existing facility and infrastructure. In many cases, the manufacturer will either purchase or lease the structure and perform any modifications required to complete the “fit-out”. In many brownfield projects, production is already occurring and personnel who are familiar with the projects and compatible quality control systems are in place. This may even be an existing facility within the corporate structure of the company. 


The most obvious advantage of choosing a brownfield site is a faster implementation. There’s no need to wait for the construction of a new facility, which could take a year or longer. If executed correctly, the transition to a brownfield facility can be quick and seamless, reducing downtime and minimizing disruptions that negatively impact service. Additionally, these sites may have legacy tech systems (ERP, eDoc, CAPA etc.) that can integrate the new operational processes.


brownfield greenfield

On the downside, brownfield facilities may have some production limitations due to the nature of the existing infrastructure. Scaling the operation may also pose significant challenges. As these structures are often older, they may have some operational inefficiencies and require more maintenance and upkeep. Some systems may even require replacement or considerable overhaul.


If you’re exploring the possibility of moving into a brownfield site when onshoring manufacturing processes, it’s essential to evaluate its current validation status. Transferring a new product into an existing facility often triggers a regulatory inspection and could lead to inspectional observations surrounding existing operations.


What Is a Greenfield Facility?


A greenfield site entails the construction of a manufacturing facility from the ground up. The manufacturer has more flexibility to customize the structure’s design to the project’s unique requirements. With proper planning, the site can also accommodate future growth more efficiently. Maintenance costs are usually lower than with a brownfield facility, as the building, equipment and machinery are typically brand-new and in peak operating condition. 


One drawback to opening a greenfield site is time. It may not be a viable option if the manufacturer must act quickly to keep up with customer demand or bring a new product to market when there is an immediate need. Hiring new staff and onboarding can also introduce a significant learning curve and lengthen the time frame until operations are up to speed. 


About RCA’s Pharmaceutical Consulting Services 


Regulatory Compliance Associates (RCA) has helped thousands of pharmaceutical companies meet regulatory, compliance, quality assurance, and remediation challenges. With more than 20 years of experience with FDA, Health Canada, EU and global regulatory agencies worldwide, Regulatory Compliance Associates® offers leading pharmaceutical consultants. We’re one of the few pharma consulting companies that can help you navigate the challenges associated with industry regulations.


Our pharmaceutical consulting firm includes over 500 seasoned FDA, Health Canada & EU compliance consultants and regulatory affairs experts who understand industry complexities. It’s a pharma consultancy founded by regulatory compliance executives from the pharmaceutical industry. Every pharmaceutical industry consultant on the Regulatory Compliance Associates team knows the unique inner workings of the regulatory process. 


Client Solutions


Whether you’re in the product planning, development or pharmaceutical lifecycle management stage or need a remediation strategy for a compliance crisis, Regulatory Compliance Associates will guide you through every pharmaceutical consulting step of the regulatory process. Our pharmaceutical consulting Experts will create a customized approach depending on your product and company’s individual needs. Our regulatory compliance clients include:


  • Companies new to FDA, Health Canada or EU regulations and regulatory compliance
  • Start-up organizations with novel submissions to 510(k) submissions from multi-national corporations
  • Investment firms seeking private equity due diligence for pre-acquisition and post-deal research
  • Law firms seeking pharmaceutical consulting firm expertise in the remediation of warning letters, consent decrees, 483’s or import bans


Regulatory Affairs


Regulatory affairs is Regulatory Compliance Associates backbone. We exceed other pharma consulting companies with industry experts experienced in complexities of the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Our pharma consulting expertise spans all facets and levels of Regulatory Affairs. Additionally, we specialize in Regulatory Support for New Products to Life Cycle Management, Outsourced Regulatory Affairs, Submissions, Training, and more.


As your partner, we can negotiate the potential assessment minefield of regulatory compliance services with insight, hindsight, and the clear advantage of our breadth and depth of knowledge and regulatory compliance consulting. We offer the following pharma consulting regulatory affairs services for pharmaceutical companies.


  • New Product Support
  • Product Lifecycle
  • Other Regulatory Services
  • Combination Products


Compliance Assurance


The regulations process surrounding pharmaceutical companies can be tricky for even the most experienced industry veteran to understand. Just one misstep could mean significant and lasting consequences for your business. At Regulatory Compliance Associates, we offer the pharma consulting experience and pharma consultants necessary to guide you through the quality compliance process.


  • Assessments
  • Audits
  • Regulatory Agency Response
  • Preparation and Training
  • Inspection Readiness
  • Data Integrity


Quality Assurance


Regulatory Compliance Associates Quality consulting includes assessments, strategy, implementations, staff augmentations, and identification of quality metrics to ensure continuous improvement. Our pharma consultants understand the strategic thinking needed to align your business needs and goals. Regulatory Compliance Associates quality assurance services include quality experts with experience spanning major corporations and start-ups. Our pharmaceutical consulting firm knows firsthand how to achieve, maintain, and improve quality. Finally, our regulatory compliance services team excels in transferring continuous improvement knowledge to your organization.


  • 21 CFR Part 11
  • Data Integrity
  • Manufacturing Support
  • Facility Support
  • Quality Metrics


Remediation Services 


Regulatory Compliance Associates has a proven remediation services approach to managing FDA Warning Letters, Consent Decrees, Remediation and other serious regulatory situations. Our pharma consultants know how to partner with executive, legal, and communication teams. Each RCA pharma consulting Expert will develop a response that will be accepted by the regulatory agency and be realistic to execute.


Regulatory Compliance Associates pharma regulatory consultants will develop a comprehensive proof book of documented evidence demonstrating the corrective action taken to remediate non-compliant issues. In addition, each Regulatory Compliance Associates pharma consulting Expert understands compliance enforcement. We’ll prepare a comprehensive pharma consulting strategy to assist in your remediation efforts, drive continuous improvement, and maintain regulatory compliance with the regulations.


  • Regulatory Action
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Regulatory Enforcement
  • Warning Letter
  • 483 Observation
  • Oversight Services
  • Risk Management Plan


About Regulatory Compliance Associates


brownfield greenfieldRegulatory Compliance Associates® (RCA) provides pharmaceutical consulting to the following industries for resolution of life science challenges:



We understand the complexities of running a life science business and possess areas of expertise that include every facet of R&D, operations, regulatory affairs, quality, and manufacturing. We are used to working on the front lines and thriving in the scrutiny of FDA, Health Canada, MHRA and globally-regulated companies.


As your partners, Regulatory Compliance Associates can negotiate the potential minefield of regulatory compliance and regulatory due diligence with insight, hindsight, and the clear advantage of our unique expertise and experience.


  • Founded in 2000
  • Headquartered in Wisconsin (USA)
  • Expertise backed by over 500 industry subject matter experts
  • Acquired by Sotera Health in 2021


About Sotera Health


The name Sotera Health was inspired by Soteria, the Greek goddess of safety, and reflects the Company’s unwavering commitment to its mission, Safeguarding Global Health®.


Sotera Health Company, along with its three best-in-class businesses – Sterigenics®Nordion® and Nelson Labs®, is a leading global provider of mission-critical end-to-end sterilization solutions and lab testing and advisory services for the healthcare industry. With a combined tenure across our businesses of nearly 200 years and our industry-recognized scientific and technological expertise, we help to ensure the safety of over 190 million patients and healthcare practitioners around the world every year.


We are a trusted partner to 5,800+ customers in over 50 countries, including 40 of the top 50 medical device companies and 9 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies.


Commitment to Quality


Our Certificate of Registration demonstrates that our Quality Management System meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, an internationally recognized standard of quality.


To begin the Regulatory Compliance Associates scoping process today, please enter your information in the blue form below and click the submit button at the bottom of the webpage. 

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