Biotech giant Amgen Inc. is continuing its drive to expand its manufacturing, research and development capacity outside the high-cost Los Angeles area, announcing on Tuesday a major new manufacturing facility in Ireland among several U.S. and global initiatives.

The company, which employs around 5,000 people at its Thousand Oaks headquarters, plans to spend more than $1 billion on a new manufacturing facility in the growing biotech hub of Cork, Ireland, to produce its blockbuster anemia treatment Aranesp and new drugs in its pipeline. The plant is expected to employ 1,100 workers by 2010.

"As demand for our products grows in Europe, Amgen requires capacity closer to this important market," said Fabrizio Bonanni, senior vice president for manufacturing, in a statement.

Amgen, which has more than 14,000 employees worldwide, also plans to build a new development center in Uxbridge, U.K., and expand its existing research and development operations in Cambridge, Mass., San Francisco and Seattle. Amgen already is adding a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico.

In addition, Amgen is moving its European headquarters from Lucerne to Zug, Switzerland. A new entity called Amgen International, also located in Zug, will focus on emerging markets in Central and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. The company said it expects it soon will establish operations in Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

The company, whose revenues grew 26 percent to $10.6 billion in 2004, is scheduled to report 2005 financials and provide a 2006 outlook on Thursday.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.