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Agilent (A) Snaps Up 20 Acres in Colorado to Build Facility, Will Create Up to 200 New Jobs

8/10/2016 6:03:38 AM

Agilent Snaps Up 20 Acres in Colorado to Build Facility, Will Create Up to 200 New Jobs August 10, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Life sciences company Agilent Technologies (A) snapped up 20 acres in Colorado to build a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and hiring an additional 150 to 200 employees, the company announced Tuesday.

The new site in Weld County, Colo. will allow the company to double its commercial manufacturing capacity for nucleic acid active pharmaceutical ingredients. Agilent researchers are exploring the impact oligonucleotides (short DNA and RNA molecules) could make in patients diagnosed with a variety of disease, including cancer, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and other disorders.

"The products manufactured at this site will be used by our customers to improve the lives of patients suffering from a variety of diseases," Skip Thune, general manager of the company's Nucleic Acids Solutions Division, said in a statement. "At Agilent, we are committed to meeting the ever-increasing needs of our customers for oligonucleotides."
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In its announcement, Agilent did not specify the scope of its new facility, such as how large the site will be or how much the construction costs are expected to be. Although, obviously, the site will cost millions of dollars. However, the company did specify that the new site will provide those new “permanent high-paying jobs.” Agilent currently employs about 12,000 people globally. Last year the company posted revenues of $4 billion.

Agilent currently operates a manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colo. The city of Boulder has recently seen several companies pull out of the area, including a 100+ job loss as Pfizer (PFE) announced it will shutter a manufacturing facility it gained through its acquisition of Illinois-based Hospira. Amgen (AMGN) has also closed down a few Boulder-area properties. While the company has not pulled out, Boulder-based Clovis Oncology (CLVS) has trimmed down the number of employees following the failure to gain regulatory approval for its experimental drug rociletinib. Boulder County is home to 125 bioscience companies, such as Clovis Oncology. There are approximately 4,700 people employed by the Boulder life sciences industry.

Agilent’s expansion will allow the company to continue to focus on its nucleic acid business, which generated about $178 million in the first quarter of 2016. Its approach to disease treatment is being challenged by a rival startup founded by a number of former Agilent employees—Twist Bioscience. However, Agilent is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Twist over that company’s technology. Agilent accused the company of stealing trade secrets, including company technology. Twist Biosciences is helmed by Emily Leproust, a former Agilent employee. In addition to Proust, there are about 10 former Agilent employees working at Twist. Agilent alleged Leproust used some of Agilent’s oligonucleotides technology to file her own patents for synthesizing the nucleotides.

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