LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — Alkermes, a dynamo in the area economic landscape that will further ramp up its operations and workforce, provided the keynote speakers Thursday for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon meeting.
“We are going to be growing significantly” during the next five years, said Brenda Elmore, Alkermes director of supply chain management in Wilmington.
The global bio-pharmaceutical company plans to add about 90 jobs at the Wilmington facility this year, she said. There are at least 50 job openings presently, said Madeline Coffin, Alkermes senior vice president of human resources based out of Boston, who also spoke.
Expectations are that probably about 90 jobs will be added year over year such that by 2021 the employee base will grow to approach 900, said Elmore. It stands at 470 today.
The expansion will involve construction of a planned 230,000 square-foot facility on the same Olinger Circle site as the existing Alkermes facility. An architectural rendering was shown on a slide during the presentation Thursday, in which added parking spaces for new employees were an extensive part.
The facility will be dedicated to Vivitrol — Alkermes’ once-monthly prescription medication for the treatment of alcohol dependence as well as for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detox. Vivitrol is manufactured at the company’s Wilmington plant, as is Aristada for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Elmore took the opportunity to praise the Quality Department at the Wilmington plant.
“One of the greatest things [at the Wilmington facility] is our Quality Department and how they maintain and ensure that patients receive quality medication,” she said.
The Wilmington manufacturing plant has been audited by regulatory agencies from Brazil, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) — the European Union’s FDA counterpart — and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We have done so well with our regulatory agency audits that we [Wilmington operations] have been asked by the FDA to be a training ground for their inspectors,” said Elmore.
The Wilmington facility employs residents of multiple counties, with the largest number living in Clinton County — 121 people. There are 90-some employees who reside in Warren County, she said.
The company is engaged in the Clinton County area community, said Elmore. Examples include providing Christmas gifts to 58 Job and Family Services’ foster children, working on Habitat for Humanity house projects, involvement with the Clinton County Humane Society, the homeless shelter, Honor Flights, Toys for Tots, and a longstanding partnership with Your Father’s Kitchen, she said.
Attendance at the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, held in the Roberts Convention Centre, tallied a record 206, said Board of Directors Chair Jonathan McKay.
This is the 60th anniversary year for the Chamber, launched in August 1957. A birthday party is planned for this coming August, said Executive Director Dessie Rogers.
It’s going strong, with a record 24 ribbon-cuttings and open houses in 2016.
Moreover, active membership in the Chamber has risen from 184 in the year 2013 to 289 this year — a jump of more than 100 members.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.