Pasadena-based Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. earlier this month broke ground on a massive 285,000-square-foot drug manufacturing and support plant in Wisconsin.
The plant, located on 13 acres in Verona, a suburb of the state capital of Madison, is slated to be completed in 2024. It will consist of a 160,000-square-foot drug manufacturing facility and a 125,000-square-foot laboratory and office facility to support development and analytical activities. The lab and office complex are set to be completed next year.
According to reports, the plant will cost about $250 million.
The plant will develop and manufacture the array of drugs that are in Arrowhead’s pipeline. All the drugs are based on a platform that uses RNA to “turn off” the genes that cause a wide variety of diseases. RNA is the molecule that controls the expression of genes on a cell’s DNA strands.
To aid in building the plant, Arrowhead announced at the May 9 groundbreaking that it had been awarded as much as $18.5 million in government funding, consisting of up to $16 million in financing from the city of Verona and as much as $2.5 million in refundable tax credits from the state of Wisconsin.
Arrowhead’s largest drug manufacturing plant is already located in Wisconsin, a 111,000-square-foot facility in Madison that employs roughly 200 of its 329 companywide employees, according to the company’s annual report, which was released last fall.
“We have had a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with the local biotech community and broader business community in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area for many years,” Christopher Anzalone, Arrowhead’s chief executive, said in the groundbreaking announcement.
In addition to its Wisconsin facilities, Arrowhead has 38 employees at a 21,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in San Diego and 93 employees at its 48,000-square-foot headquarters in Pasadena. The lease term on the San Diego facility ends next January, while the headquarters lease ends in 2027.
Despite these lease expirations and its vastly expanded presence in Wisconsin, Arrowhead is not giving up on California. Last November, Arrowhead signed a 15-year lease for 144,000 square feet of office and lab space to be built in San Diego.