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Workforce, tax incentives and US access attract more biotechs to Puerto Rico

CytoImmune Therapeutics and Biosimilar Sciences will invest a combined total of $228 million to set up operations in Puerto Rico.

The plan – which was announced by Invest Puerto Rico last week – will see the firms perform novel biologics and cell therapy research and development and hire around 400 employees.

A CytoImmune spokesman told us “We chose Puerto Rico due to talented workforce, experienced Pharma service providers, tax incentives, excellent access to US and worldwide shipping, US manufacturing.

Image: iStock/naruedom

He added, “We are finishing an approximately 40,000 square foot facility in Toa Baja that will house most R&D and all manufacturing. “

Both companies are taking advantage of the Puerto Rico Incentives Code (Act 60) – a provision provides exemption from income taxes on passive income accrued for firms with local operations.

CytoImmune said it will spend $28 million to set up the facility, adding it expects to hire around 100 people. Activities will focus on the development and sale of novel, immunotherapy products.

Biosimilar Sciences – which is a separate company – will spend $200 million to establish a facility in the neighboring town of Aguadilla.

The firm plans to develop a series of products, including a COVID-19 vaccine, cell and gene therapies, biosimilars, and other recombinant modalities.

Supply hub

In a press statement Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi cited the investments as testament to the work of Invest Puerto Rico and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce.

“An increasing number of companies are leveraging the Island’s value proposition to boost their operations, which in turn leads to increased private investment, job creation, and a positive return on investment for all.

“Furthermore, Puerto Rico is ready to serve our nation by providing a proven ecosystem for reshoring to bring back manufacturing to US soil and ensuring our critical supply chain.”

According to Invest Puerto Rico, in 2018 five of the world’s top 10 selling drugs – specifically Humira, Eliquis, Opdivo, Enbrel and Xarelto – were manufactured on the island.

In 2019, Puerto Rican pharmaceutical exports totaled more than $44 billion. Of that, $30.9 billion was exported to the US market, while $13.2 billion went to other countries, significantly more than any other US state.

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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