Biogen Idec expands North Carolina manufacturing operations

With sales of its multiple sclerosis and hemophilia drugs growing, Biogen Idec ($BIIB) is expanding operations at its manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park, NC.

The biotech announced last week it would add about 100 jobs at its operations there on the same day that it released earnings, Biogen spokesman Steven Goldsmith said. "It's not so much a physical expansion, but a need to increase staffing as demand grows for our therapies," he said Monday in an email. With 1,300 employees there, Biogen Idec is already the largest biotech in the state, he said.

Last week Biogen reported that its 2014 revenues were up 40% for the year and earnings per share were up 54% on strong sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera and its products to treat hemophilia. According to the Triangle Business Journal, the North Carolina facility can produce 5 different drugs, including MS and hemophilia drugs. The drugmaker has positions at both a biologics plant in Morrisville and a solid-dose facility in Durham. It is adding positions in manufacturing, quality assurance and other areas.

Last year, Biogen got approval for Alprolix, the first in a new wave of long-acting hemophilia treatments on their way to market. Its hemophilia B product works three times as long as current clotting factors. It also got approval for Eloctate, a hemophilia A treatment that is projected to be a blockbuster. The drugmaker has been using a Twitter video about the manufacturing process for Eloctate, which is manufactured in Cambridge, MA, to market it to patients suffering from the bleeding disorder. The drugmaker said last week that it chose to go that route because it knows people with the condition are concerned with how their drugs are made.

The expansion in North Carolina provides a bit of a boost for the area, which has seen some other drugmakers announce cuts in recent months. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) said in December it would cut about 900 R&D and sales positions, many of those at its Research Triangle Park facilities, as sales of its asthma drug Advair slowed in the face of competition.

- read the Business Journal story
- here's the earnings release

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