Amgen splashes $550M and plans to hire hundreds in Tarheel State manufacturing push

Amgen
Amgen's new substance manufacturing facility in North Carolina will complement a new packaging plant in Ohio. Both factories are set to come online in 2024. (Business Wire)

Add Amgen to the growing list of biopharma companies taking their business to North Carolina.

The California-based biotech has revealed that it will invest $550 million in a new drug substance manufacturing plant in Holly Springs, N.C., where it will hire hundreds of workers.

If that modest-sized town, 20 miles south of Raleigh, rings a bell, it might be because five months ago, Fujifilm made waves when it unveiled plans to build a massive $2 billion plant there, billed as the largest end-to-end biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in North America.

So why Holly Springs (pop. 35,000)?

Details on the deal, revealed in a statement from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, provide a clue. Helping attract Amgen were grants of $12.6 million from the state and $22.8 million from local governments. Additionally, there’s a sweetener which could pay Amgen up to $11.6 million over the next 12 years based on a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the jobs Amgen brings.

The Amgen plant will employ 355 people with an average annual salary of $119,510. In Wake County, where Holly Springs is located, the average wage is $63,966.  

“It’s exciting to see the industry where I spent much of my career become such a vital economic engine for our state,” North Carolina commerce secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, a former executive at Biogen and Purdue Pharma, said in a statement.

RELATED: Fujifilm takes its CDMO power play to the Tarheel state with plans for a $2B plant

Amgen chose Holly Springs over Houston and with the move joins many other biopharma giants with a presence in the state, including Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

The expansion is part of Amgen’s $1 billion effort to grow its manufacturing capacity. The company revealed the first phase of the project in June with a $365 million investment in a packaging plant in New Albany, Ohio, due to come online in 2024.

The plant in Holly Springs will support traditional stainless steel manufacturing and next-generation single-use technologies, giving the site the flexibility to produce multiple products, the company said. The approach, dubbed by Amgen as “FleXBatch manufacturing,” will make the plant more efficient, requiring a smaller physical footprint than a traditional factory.

RELATED: Amgen pumps $365M into new Ohio ‘smart facility,’ where staffers will be aided by robots, AI and more

Construction is planned to begin in December of this year and be complete in 2024.