Express Scripts Technology & Innovation Center

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Clayco designed, developed and constructed a fast-track, 230,000-square-foot office, lab, and production facility for Express Scripts.

The highly efficient mail-order pharmacy handles 7,000 different types of drugs and fills up to 110,000 prescriptions per day using proprietary equipment developed by Express Scripts Inc. Ninety-five percent of prescriptions are filled automatically through an elaborate system of scanners, robotic arms, sorting machines, ultrasonic sensors, scales and conveyor belts. The remaining 5 percent – mostly rarely used medicines – are processed by on-site pharmacists.

In addition to the main production area, the facility contains 6,000 square feet of freezer/cooler space to handle refrigerated medicines and a secured specialty drug area with restricted access for narcotics and other controlled substances. Mailrooms and production offices occupy 51,000 square feet of mezzanine space.

More than a working pharmacy, The Technology & Innovation Center is a venue to showcase Express Scripts’ prescription production capabilities. The design focuses on the equipment with a crisp, clean environment. A quarter-mile elevated tour path enables clients to tour the facility, walking above and through the production equipment. It features glass handrails, epoxy floors and floating monitors that describe each operation as the client walks by. Clients are further entertained in an experimental lab space used to study consumer behaviors. The room resembles a CNN studio, with high-end wood and brushed aluminum wall panels, a 103-inch plasma monitor in a rotating wall, an LED ticker tape around the room, custom-built floating canopies with integrated video monitors and lighting, and a video wall made up of 16 LCD monitors that display real-time consumer statistics.

The Pharmacy Technology and Innovation Center houses office space, innovation lab, and a complex pharmaceutical production plant for Express Scripts. The center also serves as a tour center for the prescription drug manufacturer, exhibiting their safe and efficient practices to current and potential clients. The high-volume production space is capable of filling 110,000 individual prescriptions per day, at a rate of 500,000 pills per hour.

Lamar Johnson Collaborative designers were faced with a unique challenge with this facility. A custom two-story piece of manufacturing equipment was in production, but was designed specifically for a site in a different state. Designers had to quickly execute a footprint for the St. Louis facility that would accommodate this equipment while allowing flexibility for adjoining office space.

Visited by hundreds of clients and other stakeholders each year, the innovation lab (the Lab) provides an inside view of one of the United States’ largest, most effective pharmaceutical benefits management companies. More importantly, many of those clients come to the Lab to meet with the Express Scripts team in order to investigate specific challenges they face in managing their pharmacy benefit and work together to develop customized solutions. The Lab highlights Express Scripts’ innovative solutions, while providing the environment for future breakthroughs.

ESI Lab 3.0 Visitor Experience – ESI continues to identify opportunities, make leaps and solve problems that others don’t, won’t or can’t. They are doing this through the physical environment, the workplace culture and the welcome extended to all visitors. The following themes provide the foundation for the visitor experience.

A Dynamic Laboratory – The brain of ESI’s work where a defining Test & Learn culture exposes opportunities and formalizes product and service solutions to create better outcomes for on-going health challenges.

Technologically Advanced – Where technology and unprecedented real-time access to actionable data, open architecture digital tools and analytical expertise exposes opportunities for all stakeholders. LED Monitor Arrays and Curved LED Tracking Monitors are just a few of the latest technology advancements.

Innovative – Seeking prescriptive solutions via professional/multi-disciplinary exchange and continuous rapid prototyping with an emphasis on the Patient Journey.

Enduring – They’ve done it and are doing it now.

Express Scripts’ first priority was to get its proprietary equipment installed and ready for startup in March. As a result, the production areas were the first milestones, with dates in three phases from mid-November through mid-December. All floors, walls, ceilings and finishes, including the elevated tour path, were completed by the milestone dates in these areas. Clayco delivered the warehouse and mailroom areas by the end of 2009, with the office area as the final milestone for March.

Fast Track: Completed in 7 Months

Clayco was engaged in August 2009 to deliver a complex facility by March 2010. Completing a project of this magnitude in only seven months required incredible coordination between the design and construction teams. In many cases, design continued to undergo changes as construction started. The team had limited information on the proprietary designs of the pharmacy equipment, resulting in countless design changes during construction. All team members had to be flexible.

The weather didn’t cooperate either, with the wettest October and November on record in St. Louis and an extremely cold winter. Clayco worked 20 hours a day utilizing multiple shift teams, seven days a week to stay on schedule. Despite these obstacles, Clayco met all milestone and delivery dates.


Express Scripts


St. Louis, Missouri


230,000 SF


  • Architect: Lamar Johnson Collaborative


LEED CS V2009 Silver Certified

St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers – 2010 Best Practices Award Materials Management

DBIA Mid America Region – 2012 Project of the Year & Award of Honor, Best Project in the Industrial/Process/Research Category