J&J invests $226.5M to expand Puerto Rico plants

Written by  //  October 2, 2012  //  Manufacturing  //  No comments

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John O’Hara, general manager of the Janssen plant in Gurabo speaks as Gov. Fortuño (left) looks on. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Johnson & Johnson is expanding its presence in Puerto Rico through a $226.5 million investment that will improve its two plants in Gurabo and operations in Manatí and San Lorenzo, and add 308 new jobs to its payroll, company and government officials announced Monday.

Three of the plants are part of J&J’s pharmaceutical business, while the other belongs to the company’s medical device operations.

“For the past 30 years, Johnson & Johnson has bet on the Puerto Rican worker to contribute their knowledge and ability to the growth of this multinational company,” Gov. Luis Fortuño said during the announcement that took place at the pharmaceutical’s Gurabo plant.

“The expansion is a clear example that our economy is getting stronger as the economies of Spain, Greece, and Ireland are plummeting. We thank Johnson & Johnson for putting its trust in us and investing in our most valuable resource, our people,” Fortuño said.

This is the first piece of positive news come out in months about J&J’s Puerto Rico operations. Over the past year, the company has taken a significant beating from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over production troubles at its McNeil plant in Las Piedras.

J&J’s Gurabo plant. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

As News is my Business reported, in July, McNeil laid off 225 people at the plant, reducing production significantly.

Nevertheless, J&J still employs 3,000 people on the island, prior to the addition of he new jobs.

J&J’s investments include installing next-generation technology and equipment at its Gurabo plant that will allow Puerto Rico to compete globally. The additions include retrofitting the plant with freeze-drying equipment to create powders through the freezing process, as well as bumping up its parenteral operation dedicated to producing Remilcade, one of Janssen’s most important drugs.

Officials noted that the latter operation is the first of its kind that the company installs in the Americas. Also, by having this type of facility, Gurabo would be able to receive other injectable drugs as long as it remains competitive, officials said.

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