Amgen adds new NC plant to the list as part of $1B manufacturing expansion plans stateside
What can $1 billion buy? If you’re Amgen, it’s good for two manufacturing facilities in the US.
The California-based drug giant will invest close to $550 million in a drug substance plant in Holly Springs, NC, adding itself to an ever-growing list of biotech companies that have decided to call North Carolina home, and marking its second drug manufacturing announcement in a little more than a month.
Amgen previously announced an expansion in Ohio, along with an agreement with Ohio State University to create an experiential learning program, toward the end of June. But the news of its Holly Springs, NC investment snuck into its Q2 earnings report Tuesday.
“In anticipation of future demand for our medicines, we will invest approximately $1 billion to build two new manufacturing facilities – a packaging plant in Ohio and a drug substance plant in North Carolina,” the release said. “Both of these facilities will be built faster and at a lower cost than traditional plants, and both also will utilize cutting-edge technologies to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional plants.”
Amgen did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The North Carolina facility will create more than 350 jobs and is set to be operational by 2025, the company said. Construction will start in 2021 and be completed by 2029, and new hires will include engineers, technicians, quality, management and administrative roles.
Incentives include a job development grant from the state worth around $12.6 million, and another $22.8 million in incentives from Wake County and the Holly Springs local government. The grants are contingent upon hiring and investment milestones. The average salary of the new positions added is expected to reach nearly $120,000, close to double what the current average is in Wake County.
“World-class companies like Amgen are very selective when they evaluate business locations and they only choose places that provide the best support for their operations,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. “Today’s decision proves once again that North Carolina remains a premier location for the most innovative biotech companies in the industry.”
Fujifilm Diosynth joined the expansion party in Holly Springs in March with the announcement of a $2 billion plant of its own. A month earlier, Gilead opened an office for finance, IT and human resources operations in the area.
Amgen’s expansion marks the 47th life sciences project to come to North Carolina since 2017, Cooper said in an event.
“Cambridge and Boston better look out because North Carolina is coming,” Cooper said.
Robert Kenyon, Amgen’s VP of manufacturing, will be the site lead for the new facility. He told the N&O that Amgen will be the first tenant in the Friendship Innovation Park and that the site will have single-use technology, which provides flexibility to manufacture different drugs.
“We are excited to be making this investment in Holly Springs and becoming an important part of the community,” Kenyon said in a release. “Beyond being a vibrant business environment, the area offers a skilled, trained, and diverse talent pool that we know will help Amgen maintain its long history of serving patients.”
Amgen is also investing $365 million into a new manufacturing plant in New Albany, OH, 18 miles northeast of Columbus, to further its assembly and packaging capabilities. That site will be 270,000 square feet, and be housed in the New Albany International Business Park. VP of site operations Sandra Rodriguez-Toledo will move from Puerto Rico to Ohio to oversee the new facility.