Flush with Eylea sales, Regeneron plots 300-job plant expansion

Regeneron ($REGN) is eyeing a big expansion at an upstate New York plant now that its macular degeneration drug has taken off. The company plans to spend $70 million on new buildings and upgrades--and add 300 jobs--at the Albany-area facility.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the expansion, hailing it as another boost for the state's rep in the biotech world. For Regeneron, the plans reflect a more tangible accomplishment--the out-of-the gate success of its wet age-related macular degeneration treatment Eylea, which is produced at the expanding plant.

The company has had quite a year, thanks to the new drug, which was approved last November. Despite head-to-head competition from Roche's ($RHBBY) established AMD drug Lucentis--and from off-label use of the cancer drug Avastin--Eylea has racked up one sales gain after another. For the first half of the year, it brought in $318 million. By the third quarter, sales had mounted to $244 million. Now, the company is expecting Eylea revenues of at least $790 million for the year.

State and local governments are contributing to the expansion, the Albany Times-Union reports. Empire State Development will provide $6.7 million in tax credits, while Rensselaer County will tie the plant into the county's sewer system because the township of East Greenbush couldn't handle the expansion.

- see the Times-Union story