Amgen boots up Ohio 'smart facility' where it plans to employ 400—and a trio of robots, too

Amgen is now open for business in Central Ohio after cutting the ribbon at its “most advanced facility to date.”

Dubbed “Amgen Ohio,” the nearly 300,000-square-foot biomanufacturing plant in New Albany, Ohio, is set to employ 400 full-time employees and leverage the “latest innovation and technology,” Amgen said in a Monday release.

Amgen has invested $474 million in the site, a company spokesperson said over email.

In addition to cutting-edge manufacturing tech, the facility features open workspaces for collaboration and has been designed to meet stringent environmental sustainability standards as part of Amgen’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality across all its operations by 2027.

When Amgen first unveiled plans for its Ohio plant back in mid-2021, the company said the facility would become its “most digitally advanced,” featuring the latest tech in assembly and final product packaging. At the time, the plant was expected to tackle the final manufacturing step for U.S. injectables, according to a release from the local development council The Columbus Region.

The so-called “smart facility” will rely on digital tech, including artificial intelligence and automation, Amgen’s SVP of manufacturing, Arleen Paulino, told Fierce Pharma at the time.

Amgen's spokesperson confirmed Monday that the plant still represents the company's "most digitally advanced final product assembly and packaging facility." 

The facility will be equipped with an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), plus automated guided vehicles (AGVs) called Apollo, Hercules and Zeus that will be used to transport materials from the warehouse to the production area and back. 

Further, the site will utilize augmented reality, including headsets to provide digital instructions for training or remote assistance, Amgen's spokesperson explained.

Meanwhile, Ohio has become an increasingly attractive destination for biopharma outfits like Amgen.

Just last week, manufacturer National Resilience revealed it is spending $225 million to upgrade its Cincinnati facility, where it’s adding a fourth prefilled syringe line set to be up and running by 2025.

Last summer, meanwhile, cell and gene therapy CDMO Andelyn Biosciences more than tripled its production footprint with the addition of a new manufacturing headquarters in Columbus. The new site added 180,000 square feet of office, lab and manufacturing space to the company’s existing footprint.

For its part, Amgen will use the new site to strengthen its ties to the region by rolling out an 18-month manufacturing apprenticeship in partnership with Columbus State Community College. The program, which is being targeted toward those new to the field or changing careers, will offer a mix of classroom and practical training without the need for a bachelor’s degree.