Bristol-Myers plots $165M plant expansion in Puerto Rico

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) plans to amp up its manufacturing capacity in Humacao, Puerto Rico, with a $165 million plant expansion. The growth plans are good news for the island, where pharma manufacturing has shrunk and layoffs increased in recent years.

First, the company will add 82,000 square feet of space for manufacturing Type 2 diabetes drugs. Next, Bristol-Myers will renovate 83,150 square feet of existing space to increase production of cardiovascular meds.

Bristol-Myers will add 100 new jobs at the site beginning in 2016, when construction is expected to wrap up. Work will begin later this year. "Puerto Rico's highly skilled workforce has contributed significantly to our existing operation and plays an important role in our company's future growth," said Ricardo Zayas, senior vice president of pharmaceutical manufacturing, in a statement.

This Humacao project underscores Bristol-Myers' commitment to the island, despite recent layoffs and regulatory scrutiny. In 2007, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Bristol-Myers both shuttered plants on the island, laying off hundreds in the process. Since then, Bristol-Myers had a run-in with the FDA over poor manufacturing practices at its Manati plant. Those problems, cited in a 2010 warning letter, were resolved last summer. The company spent $200 million to expand that Manati facility three years ago.

Bristol-Myers hasn't been alone in dealing with FDA action in Puerto Rico. Reports of shoddy quality have painted a poor picture of some Puerto Rican drug manufacturing recently, affecting the likes of GSK, Pfizer ($PFE), and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), in addition to BMS.

- get more from the Bristol-Myers statement