Amgen breaks ground on $200M next-gen biopharma plant in Rhode Island

The facility is expected to be completed by 2020. (Amgen)

Biopharmaceutical giant Amgen broke ground this week on a $200 million next-generation biopharma manufacturing plant located at its campus in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.

The estimated 120,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by 2020 and create about 150 new jobs at the plant. Currently, Amgen employs about 625 full-time workers there.

The facility will feature a number of new manufacturing technologies and equipment that is smaller and portable, allowing Amgen to more quickly respond to changing demands in producing new medicines, it said.

Those innovations will allow the plant to be constructed in about half the time as well as reduce operating costs associated with traditional facilities. Additionally, the plant is designed to have a smaller footprint with less of an environmental impact by reducing water and energy consumption, and lower carbon emissions.

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"Biologics manufacturing is a complex science and has long been a competitive advantage for Amgen," Robert Bradway, Amgen’s chair and chief executive, said in a statement. "We are working to extend that advantage even further with a next-generation biomanufacturing plant in Rhode Island that will produce medicines to serve patients around the world suffering from serious illnesses."

Despite some concerns over the company’s rollout of its migraine drug Aimovig, last week Amgen reported second-quarter revenues of $6.06 billion. The number beat estimates by 3%, and its earnings per share of $3.83 came in 33 cents higher than expected. The positive earnings report was bolstered by better-than-expected sales of older products like osteoporosis drug Prolia and Sensipar, which is used to treat hyperparathyroidism.