Shire Pharmaceuticals opens technology center

$6 million plant in Owings Mills to aid efficiency

September 29, 2006|By Nick Shields | Nick Shields,SUN REPORTER

When a pharmaceutical company acquired an Owings Mills drug firm about four years ago, about 100 people worked there. Shire Pharmaceuticals has since expanded and brought another 150 jobs to Baltimore County.

Yesterday, the company announced another expansion. Company officials joined by politicians, fireworks and shimmering golden streamers unveiled a multimillion-dollar building designed, in part, to improve manufacturing efficiency.

The $6 million Pharmaceutical Technology Center is 19,000 square feet. The company did not announce new hiring as a result of the opening.

The company produces pharmaceuticals to help treat epilepsy, Crohn's disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, officials said.

The world headquarters for Shire Pharmaceuticals Group is in Britain, while the company has corporate headquarters in Wayne, Pa.

In 2002, Shire acquired Atlantic Pharmaceuticals Services in Owings Mills and began to produce many of its drugs in-house, said John Lee, executive vice president of global supply chain and quality.

The company employed about 150 people at the time of the acquisition, but now employs 305 at the Owings Mills site with a payroll of about $21 million, officials said.

"Shire is one of our biggest success stories," said David S. Iannucci, executive director of the Baltimore County department of economic development. "It's part of a bigger picture of a successful emergence of Baltimore County being major player in pharmaceutical manufacturing."

The company has spent more than $65 million at the Owings Mills site since the acquisition, Iannucci said. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said the company's expansion is an asset when promoting Maryland to other companies.

"It's another arrow in my quiver," the governor said. "Whether I'm in my office in Annapolis or in a boardroom in Asia, when I'm sitting there trying to close a deal with a CEO or CFO looking to come to Maryland, I have a list of successful companies in Maryland, what they've done, their expansion plans and why they've expanded."

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said the company has had a positive impact on the economy and in increasing jobs.

"This will be a successful company that will stay in Baltimore County because it has the room to grow and it has that terrific employee base of qualified employees and that's a very exciting development for the business community and for the county," he said.

nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

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