OCEANSIDE — The footprint of the Genentech biologics manufacturing facility will not change but inside one of its six buildings and the facility’s collective 500,000 square feet a $132 million expansion will begin in January.
The completed expansion will allow manufacturing of two drugs to go on simultaneously and add 50 long-term jobs for skilled technicians, scientists and engineers to Genentech’s operations. Jobs for biochemical engineers will pay in the range of $75,000 annually and up.
The company is looking to California workers to fill those new jobs.
“California has always had an impressive skilled workforce,” Ian Clark, CEO of Genentech said. “In recent years California has made great strides toward improving the business environment for life sciences innovation and incentivizing manufacturing. We are committed to working with the state to continue this positive progress and make California an even better place to grow the industry.”
Currently the Genentech Oceanside facility manufactures Avastin, Rituxan and Actemra. These drugs are used in the treatment of adults with metastatic carcinoma of the colon or rectum, and to reduce the symptoms of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis.
Presently only one drug can be manufactured at a time. Facility expansion will allow two manufacturing processes to operate simultaneously and clinical trial drugs to be made.
“We will use the new space to manufacture a second commercial product,” Don Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager of Oceanside product operations, said.
The expansion process will start with designing the layout inside the building shell adjacent to the main building, and move forward to include adding manufacturing equipment and lab space.
Then the added drug manufacturing area will go through test batch runs and a strict commissioning process to ensure health and sanitation standards are met.
“The commissioning is very involved,” Fitzgerald said. “Test batches need to be run. Commissioning can take six to eight months.”
The remodeled building will also be joined to the main building with an inside corridor.
Design work, construction and commissioning are anticipated to be completed by June 2016.
Fitzgerald said Genentech is the largest private employer in Oceanside and takes on the responsibility of good citizenship by giving back to the community through donations to nonprofits and schools.
The Genentech Vacaville, Calif., site will also be expanded making it the largest biotech manufacturing facility in the world, and adding 200 jobs to that location.