Bristol-Myers expanding again in Puerto Rico

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) is again beefing up its manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, this time to increase capacity for producing cardiovascular and Type 2 diabetes drugs.

The Big Pharma company will lay out $165 million to expand its Humacao plant. Bristol-Myers will start with the addition of 82,000 square feet of new manufacturing space, and then follow up by renovating 83,150 square feet of existing space. The company will add 100 new jobs once the project finishes in 2016.

Despite recent layoffs and regulatory scrutiny of manufacturing on the Caribbean island, Bristol-Myers likes it for manufacturing. "Puerto Rico's highly skilled workforce has contributed significantly to our existing operation and plays an important role in our company's future growth," said Ricardo Zayas, senior vice president of pharmaceutical manufacturing, in a statement.

Reports of low-quality operations have painted a poor picture of some Puerto Rican drug manufacturing in recent years. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Pfizer ($PFE), and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), in addition to BMS, have all had problems there. In 2007, BMS and GSK shuttered Puerto Rican plants, laying off hundreds in the process. Two years ago, Bristol-Myers had a run-in with the FDA over poor manufacturing practices at its Manati plant, which it resolved last summer.

The Humacao expansion marks the second significant project for Bristol-Myers on the island. In 2009, it spent $200 million to expand its Manati facility.

- here's the Bristol-Myers statement

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