Biogen Will Build Bigger Space

Biogen Will Build Bigger Space [the News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.]

From News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) (April 26, 2011)

April 26--Biogen Idec is preparing to expand its Research Triangle Park campus, reinforcing the Massachusetts drug company's commitment to this region.

Officials plan to hold a ceremony Thursday to begin construction of a 180,000-square-foot building. It will include a five-story administrative office wing and amenities such as a cafeteria, an auditorium and conference rooms.

The new space will give Biogen's nearly 850 existing employees more room, allow the company to leave some leased offices and could lead to additional hiring.

"We're confident we will see job growth in RTP," although it's too soon to provide specific numbers, spokesman Mike McBrierty said.

That's one reason Biogen didn't seek state or local incentives to help pay for the project. Such awards typically are tied to job creation milestones.

"There are just so many variables that go into headcount projections, we didn't have the confidence" to seek incentives, McBrierty said. He declined to disclose the company's investment in the expansion.

Biogen is just one of several drug companies that are expanding in this area, creating jobs and attracting attention to the Triangle as a hotspot for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

"It is further validation that the North Carolina model for economic development and biotech is working," said Norris Tolson, CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

Companies are drawn to this state because of its business climate, workforce training programs, leading research efforts and other factors, he added.

Biogen's new building will allow the company to move about 275 people who work out of leased space in Durham, consolidating its footprint and reducing its real-estate costs. Those employees answer patients' questions and provide other support services. The building is expected to be ready late next year.

What they make

Biogen disclosed initial plans for the expansion in a February regulatory filing, but didn't reveal many details. The company already occupies about 550,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, warehouse and lab space at its RTP campus.

Some of the company's local workers make the multiple sclerosis treatments Tysabri and Avonex.

The RTP operations also produce biologic drugs for other companies. That involves using live cells, as opposed to drugs made from chemicals or other compounds.

"As Biogen Idec's product pipeline matures, manufacturing activity at the RTP site continues to increase," said John G. Cox, executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations and technology. "We look forward to using our expertise in biologics manufacturing to bring new therapies to patients with unmet medical needs around the world."

The expansion follows a recent restructuring that included closing offices in San Diego and Massachusetts, and eliminating about 13 percent of Biogen's workforce.

Last week, Biogen reported that first-quarter revenue rose to $1.2 billion, up 8.5 percent from a year ago, driven by stronger sales of Avonex and other products. CEO George Scangos also disclosed promising results for an experimental pill to treat MS, sending Biogen's shares soaring 15 percent.

The stock close at $100.28 on Monday, up 58 cents.

alan.wolf@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4572

------

To see more of The News & Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newsobserver.com.

Copyright (c) 2011, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com, e-mail services@mctinfoservices.com, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544)

Biogen will build bigger space [The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.]

From News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) (April 26, 2011)

April 26--Biogen Idec is preparing to expand its Research Triangle Park campus, reinforcing the Massachusetts drug company's commitment to this region.

Officials plan to hold a ceremony Thursday to begin construction of a 180,000-square-foot building. It will include a five-story administrative office wing and amenities such as a cafeteria, an auditorium and conference rooms.

The new space will give Biogen's nearly 850 existing employees more room, allow the company to leave some leased offices and could lead to additional hiring.

"We're confident we will see job growth in RTP," although it's too soon to provide specific numbers, spokesman Mike McBrierty said.

That's one reason Biogen didn't seek state or local incentives to help pay for the project. Such awards typically are tied to job creation milestones.

"There are just so many variables that go into headcount projections, we didn't have the confidence" to seek incentives, McBrierty said. He declined to disclose the company's investment in the expansion.

Biogen is just one of several drug companies that are expanding in this area, creating jobs and attracting attention to the Triangle as a hotspot for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

"It is further validation that the North Carolina model for economic development and biotech is working," said Norris Tolson, CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

Companies are drawn to this state because of its business climate, workforce training programs, leading research efforts and other factors, he added.

Biogen's new building will allow the company to move about 275 people who work out of leased space in Durham, consolidating its footprint and reducing its real-estate costs. Those employees answer patients' questions and provide other support services. The building is expected to be ready late next year.

What they make

Biogen disclosed initial plans for the expansion in a February regulatory filing, but didn't reveal many details. The company already occupies about 550,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, warehouse and lab space at its RTP campus.

Some of the company's local workers make the multiple sclerosis treatments Tysabri and Avonex.

The RTP operations also produce biologic drugs for other companies. That involves using live cells, as opposed to drugs made from chemicals or other compounds.

"As Biogen Idec's product pipeline matures, manufacturing activity at the RTP site continues to increase," said John G. Cox, executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations and technology. "We look forward to using our expertise in biologics manufacturing to bring new therapies to patients with unmet medical needs around the world."

The expansion follows a recent restructuring that included closing offices in San Diego and Massachusetts, and eliminating about 13 percent of Biogen's workforce.

Last week, Biogen reported that first-quarter revenue rose to $1.2 billion, up 8.5 percent from a year ago, driven by stronger sales of Avonex and other products. CEO George Scangos also disclosed promising results for an experimental pill to treat MS, sending Biogen's shares soaring 15 percent.

The stock close at $100.28 on Monday, up 58 cents.

alan.wolf@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4572

------

To see more of The News & Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newsobserver.com.

Copyright (c) 2011, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com, e-mail services@mctinfoservices.com, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544)
 

Posted: April 2011


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