Manufacturing operations at the facility, in Dorado on the island’s northern coast, began earlier this week with the production of the first batches of the generic antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the US market.
The drug is commonly used to treat anthrax, by preventing replication of the causative bacteria Bacillus anthracis, and is one of a number of products Blu supplies to government agencies in the US.
Luster told in-PharmaTechnologist that, in time, Blu will make other generics at the 145,000 sqft, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved facility but declined to name any specific products.
He did explain that: “By the end of next year we will be producing 2bn tablets [a year] in Puerto Rico,” adding that the firm is “in the process of adding equipment for the increase in capacity.
Luster went on to say that Blu, which is expected to invest some $60m in the facility, plans to further increase annual production capacity to around 4bn tablets by 2013.
Blu’s sister company, Blu Caribe, bought the facility from fellow generics firm Biovail, which decided to transfer manufacturing operations from Puerto Rico to its production plant in Steinbach, Canada in 2008.
According to a report in Industry Week, Blu has hired 170 former Biovail employees and plans to increase its workforce at the facility to around the 250 mark to coincide with the capacity expansion.
And, although further financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, media reports suggest that the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico and Small Business Administration provided in funding for the deal $10m