Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Genentech expansion to add 200 jobs

Genentech expansion to add 200 jobs

By Melissa Murphy/ MMurphy@TheReporter.com
Posted: 10/15/2013 01:01:24 AM PDT

Biotechnology giant Genentech Inc. announced it will invest $153 million in its Vacaville location as part of expanding its manufacturing facility.

A press release issued by Genentech on Monday said that the expansion will involve a re-open and upgrade of the facility, and will create approximately 200 jobs, including more than 100 skilled technicians, scientists, engineers and quality professionals by the end of 2014. Hiring will start in late 2013.

With the expansion, Vacaville will be the largest producer of biologic substances for Genentech and Roche and the biggest biotech facility in the world, according to the company.

It's great news for Vacaville, said City Manager Laura Kuhn.

"It's fabulous," she said. "It's one of our larger employers with high-wage jobs. It's better for our community."

She said there will be some permits needed for the upgrade, but that the company is using an existing part of the building that sits at the corner of Vaca Valley Parkway and Interstate 505.

Kuhn said Solano Community College is looking to expand classes for the biotech industry at its Vacaville location, which is right across the street from Genentech.

"It's exciting," she said. "The city is thrilled. We've built a great bond with Genentech and we work well together."

Solano Economic Development Corp. President Sandy Person said the news is also great for Solano County.

"It's a very cool thing and great news for Vacaville and Solano County," she said. "It's a real boon for Solano County's biotech cluster."

She added that, coming out of a recession, there is momentum in the housing and business industries.

"We are well poised to reap the benefits of new activities and investments," she said.

Genentech also is expanding in Southern California.

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, will invest another $132 million at its manufacturing facility in Oceanside.

The company currently employs approximately 10,000 people in the state. The expansions will add 250 jobs at the facilities during the next four years, bringing the total number of Genentech manufacturing jobs in California to close to 3,000, according to the press release.

"California has always had an impressive skilled workforce that has allowed Genentech to hire diverse and talented individuals in various disciplines," Ian Clark, chief executive officer of Genentech, said in the press release. "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."

Genentech's U.S. manufacturing network spans three locations in California -- South San Francisco, Vacaville and Oceanside -- and Hillsboro, Ore., producing medicines intended for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Follow Staff Writer Melissa Murphy at Twitter.com/ReporterMMurphy.

Genentech launches major Vacaville expansion

Genentech launches major Vacaville expansion

By Brad Stanhope
 October 16, 2013 |

VACAVILLE — Genentech is expanding in Vacaville.

The company will spend more than $285 million over the next four years to expand two manufacturing facilities, including Vacaville. It will make the Vacaville plant the largest biotech manufacturing facility in the world.

The company announced the expansion in a press release Sunday night. It will add about 200 new jobs in Vacaville and 50 in Oceanside. Vacaville’s plant currently employs about 400 people.

Robin Snyder, the director of corporate communications for Genentech, said the expansion should start in June 2014 and will be finished by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

“Genentech is the No. 1 maker of cancer medicines in the world and we continue to deliver on our pipeline of first-in-class and best-in-class medicines,” Snyder wrote in an email to the Daily Republic. “We have received FDA approval of five new medicines in the past three years.”

Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp, called the announcement great news for the county and Vacaville.

“Genentech has long been one of Solano County’s premier life science companies,” she said. “Its growth is an important piece to our economy and our life science cluster.”

“We’ve definitely turned the corner on the economy,” Person said. “The Great Recession was painful and it lasted too long.”

The company is a member of the Solano Economic Development Corp., Person said.

“We’ve been working with Genentech to provide any resources we could,” she said.

The new positions will range from technicians to scientists and engineers, according to the Genentech press release.

“California has always had an impressive skilled workforce that has allowed Genentech to hire diverse and talented individuals in various disciplines,” said Ian Clark, Genentech’s chief executive officer, in the press release.

Snyder said that the decision to expand now was due to a growing demand for Genentech’s products.

“As a network, we’ve been operating at maximum capacity,” Snyder wrote. “These investments will allow us to ensure reliable supply of or currently marketed medicines, as well as to deliver on our industry-leading pipeline.”

The news is particularly good in that it comes less than a week after Merck, a pharmaceutical rival, announced plans to lay off 8,500 employees and cut $2.5 billion in costs over the next two years.

It’s the second bit of good news for Vacaville in a week – after Thursday’s announcement that Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center received approval to become Solano County’s lone Level II trauma center.

Genentech has three locations in California – Vacaville, South San Francisco and Oceanside – and one in Hillsboro, Ore. There are about 10,000 Genentech employees in California, with 3,000 of them manufacturing jobs.

The California facilities produce medicines for a range of diseases including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Biologic medicines are among those manufactured in Vacaville. Biologic medicines are large molecules that are created by biological processes, rather than being chemically synthesized, according to the press release. They are typically administered via injection or intravenously.

Genentech is a member of the Roche Group. It was founded more than 35 years ago and its Vacaville plant became fully functional in 1999.

Person of the Solano Economic Development Corp. said life science got a lot of its start in the San Francisco Bay Area in part because of the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Davis.

Taking a biotech drug to market requires infrastructure for manufacturing and Solano County has the needed workforce, water and land, Person said.

“We kind of sit at the center of the Northern California megaregion,” she said.

Genentech company headquarters are in South San Francisco. Its website is www.gene.com.

Ryan McCarthy contributed to this report. Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or bstanhope@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Monday, October 7, 2013

S.T. Johnson Co. joins Fairfield manufacturing hub

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas
October 06, 2013

The recruitment of manufacturing companies remains a high-priority target for local economic development efforts and is a critical engine of economic growth.

Manufacturing is certainly visible in Fairfield, with major companies like Anheuser-Busch, Clorox and Ball employing hundreds of people and contributing significantly to the local economy. Fairfield offers a central location, available water and sewer capacity and a diverse stock of modern yet affordable industrial space.

At a recent county planners’ “brown bag” lunch, Sandy Person, executive director of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, said, “Manufacturers are a catalyst for innovation and economic growth. A manufacturing company not only employs its own workers but can attract other companies which provide local employment, including suppliers, marketing firms and distributors. Manufacturers also add value to the local property tax base and contribute sales tax revenues.”

It is always good news when a manufacturer decides to locate a facility in Fairfield.

S.T. Johnson Company, an Oakland-based company,has announced plans to move into a facility at 5160 Fulton Drive. S.T. Johnson Company designs and manufactures burners for industrial and commercial plants, boiler management controls, burner modernization controls and fuel handling systems.

Economic Notes spoke with Barbara Florio, controller for the company, about their plans.

Economic Notes: Please tell our readers a little bit about S.T. Johnson and the company’s history.

Barbara Florio: S.T. Johnson Company is an industry leader in providing reliable and innovative combustion solutions to industrial and commercial users. S.T. Johnson Company was founded in San Francisco in 1903 as a burner manufacturer and fuel oil distributor. The company rose to prominence in the 1920s with the advent of the Johnson rotary burner, which was famous for its simplicity, reliability and durable design. Today we continue a tradition of innovation and excellence that produces a modern array of both packaged and engineered combustion systems that lead the industry in quality, reliability and pollution control.

EN: What made you choose Fairfield for your new location?

Florio: Fairfield is centrally located between the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento markets, which is a well-positioned location for our business.

EN: Will there be other operations occurring in the Fairfield facility in addition to manufacturing? Is there room for expansion in Fairfield?

Florio: We are leaving Oakland and consolidating all operations in Fairfield, including engineering and manufacturing. The Fulton Drive facility has plenty of room for expansion in all areas of our operation.

EN: How many people do you anticipate employing in Fairfield? When will the Fairfield facility be up and running?

Florio: We expect to be fully up and running within a few weeks. I can’t predict numbers, but it is safe to say there will be numerous employment opportunities in the coming months and years.

S. T. Johnson joins a diverse roster of manufacturing companies that call Fairfield home.

Fairfield is of course known for the cluster of food- and beverage-related businesses, including breweries, specialty foods and food packaging. Fairfield is also continuing to attract companies that provide specialized equipment and tools to regional, national and international industry.

This kind of high technology and innovative industry is the wave of the future as these companies can support the high-tech industry in the central Bay Area, while our food and beverage companies take advantage of the agriculture bounty of inland California.

Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. Reach them at 428-7461 or email at kdumas@fairfield.ca.gov or bkmiller@fairfield.ca.gov.