Amgen names Rhode Island as location for its new U.S. next-gen biologics plant

Spurred by U.S. tax breaks, Amgen will build a $165 million next-generation biologics plant in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. (Amgen)

Spurred by U.S. tax breaks, Amgen said it will build a $165 million next-generation biologics plant in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. The company first announced it was looking for a U.S. site earlier this year.

The Thousand Oaks, California-based company developed and built a biologics manufacturing plant several years ago in Singapore that was smaller, cheaper and more flexible than the traditional giant-sized, drug-specific model. 

Amgen began moving to cheaper, leaner plants as part of its efforts to cut costs by reducing the size of its manufacturing footprint. The new plant will complement Amgen’s existing Rhode Island manufacturing facility.

The West Greenwich plant, which will be the first of its kind in the U.S., will incorporate multiple innovative technologies in a single site, allowing for reduced construction time and about half the operating cost of a traditional plant, the company said. Such facilities also are located on a smaller manufacturing footprint and offer greater environmental benefits like reduced water and energy consumption and lower levels of carbon emissions.

"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," Esteban Santos, Amgen EVP, said in a statement. “We are pleased to build the first commercial scale, next-generation biomanufacturing plant in the U.S., leveraging Amgen's capabilities and incorporating the latest technologies."

Amgen said the project will create about 150 skilled manufacturing jobs and around 200 construction and validation jobs.

Amgen’s current Rhode Island plant was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September 2005 and is one of the world's largest mammalian protein manufacturing facilities. The facility manufactures commercial and clinical bulk drug substance.