Purdue building $59M plant in North Carolina

Purdue Pharma will invest nearly $60 million in a new plant in the Raleigh/Durham, NC, area with a little help from its friends there.

The pain-drug specialist expects to start construction next year on the 120,000-square-foot, oral solid-dose facility and have it completed in 2015, Purdue spokeswoman Shirley Jones said in an email. Assuming FDA approval, production would begin in 2016. Jones said Purdue's investment is "in line with its overall manufacturing strategy for supply of current and future products."

The plant is slated to employ about 100 people in the next three years. According to an announcement from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, salaries at the facility will average $70,199 plus benefits. That puts them above the Durham County average annual wage of $66,602. If the jobs come through as planned, Purdue will qualify for a $300,000 state grant for the facility, as well as matching money from local governments.

Purdue's primary manufacturing plant is about 75 miles away in Wilson, NC. Opened in 2000, the 240,000-square-foot manufacturing, packaging and distribution facility also produces oral solid-dosage tablets. The maker of OxyContin uses anticounterfeit packaging and technology at that facility that allows Purdue to track drugs from the warehouse to pharmacies.

Purdue is not the only drugmaker to announce manufacturing news tied to Durham lately. Merck ($MRK) this month said that the FDA had approved its Durham vaccine manufacturing plant to produce bulk varicella for its chickenpox and shingles vaccines.

- here's the announcement