U.K. generics maker to build $31M plant in Alabama

A small generics maker from the U.K. has decided on Birmingham, AL, for its first manufacturing facility, enticed there by a hefty dose of incentives.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals, based in Oxford, England, will invest nearly $31 million to build a 120,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2015 and operational in the first quarter of 2016, the Birmingham Business Journal reports. It will start operations with 61 employees but has pledged to hire 200 within a decade.

The company has been offered free space in an innovation center in the county until its facility is ready, but in total, the company will score about $4.9 million in public incentives from the state and other entities, the Business Journal said.

"There was a tremendous recruiting effort by the state, the county, the city and the different organizations," Oxford CEO John Schultz told a business group when the announcement was made.

Pharma companies can command significant incentives these days from jurisdictions and politicians anxious to attract companies with a high-tech patina and high-paying jobs. Indian drugmaker Glenmark Pharmaceuticals picked Monroe, NC, this summer for its first U.S. facility, a $17 million, three-unit operation that will encompass about 120,000 square feet where it plans to make solids, injectables and topicals. It is getting more than $1 million in incentives for that project. Argos Therapeutics ($ARGS), which is developing a personalized immunotherapy drug to treat renal cell carcinoma, started work in October on a $57 million manufacturing facility, also in North Carolina. The biotech will get nearly $10 million in public support for that project.

- read the Birmingham Business Journal story