Drugmaker JHP to expand Rochester facility, hire scientists

Posted on July 2, 2012

If you’ve ever been pregnant or know someone who has, you likely have heard of Pitocin, the drug used to induce labor.

Now, the company that manufactures it is going to stimulate the Oakland County economy with an $8-million expansion of its Rochester manufacturing facility.

JHP Pharmaceuticals, with a 25-person headquarters in Parsippany, N.J., employs an estimated 340 people in Michigan and plans to hire another 15 scientists, according to vice president of quality operations Rick Whitfield.

The company makes sterile, injectable drugs used in hospitals for anesthesiology, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, infectious disease, women’s health, neurology and other areas.

What’s planned is a new 40,000-square-foot building for quality-control testing laboratories and a development center, JHP Pharmaceuticals Vice President and General Manager Don Ferry said. The R&D component will support JHP Generics, a new division announced on June 7.

“It helps the facility and platforms it for growth in the future,” Whitfield said. “We’ll be able to accommodate more testing in the future, based on lab layouts, and a portion of the new facility is dedicated to product development for JHP. … Naturally, we’ll transition those products into the manufacturing facility.”

The company has a 171,000-square-foot production building and warehouse, which sits on some of its 87 acres of land.

“For pharmaceuticals, you manufacture them, you blend them and fill them into vials, but as part of that process, you must test all the materials you use, manufacture the product and after you’re done manufacturing the product, you have to test the product,” Whitfield said. “That’s the key utilization of the facility.”

In 2008, Oakland County launched an initiative called Medical Main Street to attract new business in the area. To date, that’s translated into $220-plus million in investment and the creation or retention of more than 2,900 jobs, according to the county.

“The significance of this expansion is this is JHP’s only production facility,” said Irene Spanos, Oakland County’s director of economic development and community affairs. “They’re going to be more R&D. They were traditionally doing … contract manufacturing for a lot of the biotech companies in the world and pharmaceutical companies. Now, they’re going to do more contract R&D. We have been the R&D for Michigan for automotive. Now, we’re building capacity for the life sciences as well.”

Privately held JHP Pharmaceuticals bought the Rochester site from King Pharmaceuticals in 2007, according to Ferry.

Both he and Whitfield declined to discuss revenues.

More Details: JHP Pharmaceuticals

Location: Rochester (corporate headquarters in Parsippany, N.J.)

What the company does: Manufactures sterile, injectable drugs used in hospitals, including women’s health and anesthesia products

Employees: Approximately 340, plus another 25 in New Jersey

Website: www.jhppharma.com

By: Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press