SMITHFIELD – Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. broke ground Monday on an addition to its Smithfield manufacturing facility.
The expansion comes as a result of approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency of the plant’s status as a commercial manufacturing facility for the company’s drug, Soliris, which is designed to combat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare, debilitating and life-threatening blood disease.
Alexion purchased the Smithfield complex in 2006 and has invested more than $150 million to create a manufacturing and testing facility.
The expansion, totaling 20,000 square feet, will add laboratories and office space to help in the manufacture of Soliris as well as research in the treatment of other diseases.
The Cheshire, Conn.-based company expects to hire about 44 more people at its Smithfield plant where it currently employs 125. Soliris is the company's only drug currently on the market.
Alexion reported a net income of $97.0 million in 2010, compared with its 2009 income of $295.2 million (the 2009 total was helped by a non-recurring tax benefit).