BARCELONETA, Puerto Rico—Mid-April saw the opening of a new Abbott Laboratories biologics manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico to support the long-term supply of its leading biologic agent Humira as well as other future biologics. The new facility, Abbott Biotechnology Limited (ABL), received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in February to commercially produce Humira for the U.S. market.
"This new facility is a key milestone for Abbott as we move to focus our resources and future growth on biologic and potent-drug manufacturing," says Lawrence Kraus, vice president of manufacturing, global pharmaceutical operations, Abbott. "The advanced, high-quality infrastructure of ABL can meet the exceptionally challenging and stringent processes of biologic manufacturing. With this state-of-the-art facility, we can supply HUMIRA to the growing number of patients who have come to rely on this breakthrough product."
The new plant is Abbott's single-largest capital investment to date, costing approximately $450 million, and is designed to help the company achieve large-scale production volumes in biologic manufacturing. In addition to producing Humira, the 330,000-sq.-ft. facility is designed for large-scale production of future products in Abbott's pipeline that will require advanced manufacturing technologies.
"Abbott is committed to Puerto Rico and proud to help the commonwealth emerge as a world-class base for biotechnology innovation," says Neil Aylward, divisional vice president of Puerto Rico operations, Abbott. "ABL and our other operations in Puerto Rico will continue to play an important role in supporting Abbott as we continue to bring important, life-changing products to patients around the world."
This new plant has significantly more production capacity than the other manufacturing facility for Humira, the Abbott Bioresearch Center in Worcester, Mass. That site will now serve as a supporting production facility for Humira and will focus on Abbott's growing biologics research and development portfolio. ABL will now be the main production facility for Humira, reportedly the only fully human monoclonal antibody approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis in the United States and Europe. The drug is also approved in the U.S. to treat Crohn's disease.
"Abbott's new facility expands Puerto Rico's growing presence as the Bio Island," says Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. "Puerto Rico has been a global leader in manufacturing pharmaceutical products for more than 40 years. Our unique combination of incentives, skilled workforce, strong infrastructure and excellent business climate enable us to partner with global industry leaders like Abbott. With the growing presence of Abbott and others, we have the necessary tools to become a global leader in biotechnology as well."