Manufacturing, Real estate

Amgen goes back to Rhode Island to build its first next-gen manufacturing site in the US

In a bid to lead the way in developing a new generation of more efficient biologics manufacturing facilities, Amgen $AMGN is investing $160 million in a new plant to be constructed on its Rhode Island base.

The pharma giant $AMGN — headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA — has had a long history with the 75-acre campus in West Greenwich, RI, since inheriting it in the Immunex acquisition in 2001. With the new operation, it plans to add around 150 manufacturing positions to the 625-strong team. The state government was happy to hear about that job creation, in addition to 200 temporary construction and validation jobs, and has promised $9.5 million in tax credits to move things along.

Bob Bradway

Flexibility is a hallmark of this new design, Amgen says, which would allow the company to respond to new demands more quickly and at lower cost. The modular design means the equipment inside the facility would be portable and disposable. One such plant has already been up and running in Singapore since 2014.

After evaluating global locations for the project, Amgen — led by CEO Bob Bradway — finally decided to double down on the resources it’s already poured into the Rhode Island site, citing the workforce, the quality of living and the potential to grow. While cost was not mentioned, the current numbers — both in capital and hiring — is almost half of what the company outlined in February, when it announced it would spend up to $300 million and hire up to 300 employees for a new facility.

Esteban Santos

“Amgen has three decades of experience in biologics manufacturing, and we are proud of our track record of providing a reliable supply of high-quality medicines for patients around the world,” said Esteban Santos, executive vice president of operations.

The company also attributed the decision to build the new plant on US soil to the federal tax reform that, according to an earlier Endpoints analysis, reduced its tax rate by 20-plus percent.

It is yet unclear when the plant, which Amgen says would take half the construction time to build compared to a traditional one, will open. Meanwhile, Amgen is touting its low operating cost and environmental benefits, including reduced water and energy consumptions.


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