July 07, 2010 09:00 ET

Bio Island Bouncing Back

Puerto Rico Attracts New Blu Pharmaceuticals and Pioneer Hi-Bred Facilities

SAN JUAN, PR--(Marketwire - July 7, 2010) -  After a lull brought on by the global recession, Puerto Rico appears to be bouncing back as one of the world's top destinations for life science companies. Two U.S. companies -- Blu Pharmaceuticals and a DuPont business, Pioneer Hi-Bred -- announced new manufacturing and R&D facilities on the island during the past several months.

With Amgen, Eli Lilly and Abbott Laboratories investing $4 billion in the island over the past seven years, Puerto Rico rapidly became the world's third largest biotech manufacturer, earning it the nickname "Bio Island." Puerto Rico also has one of the largest concentrations of pharmaceutical manufacturing operations in the world and produces 13 of the top 20 blockbuster drugs sold in the United States.

Most recently, Pioneer Hi-Bred announced a new state-of-the-art research and development facility in Salinas on the southern coast of Puerto Rico to complement its existing trial seed production facility. The $6 million facility is expected to employ 100 scientists, agronomists and others.

"Puerto Rico was a smart choice for many reasons," said John Soper, Pioneer Vice President of Crop Genetics Research and Development. He noted that the island has the same regulatory framework as the mainland United States, a longer growing season suitable for planting crops year-round and a steady stream of quality talent coming out of the University of Puerto Rico.

Pioneer also worked closely with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), a governmental economic development agency, to take advantage of aggressive new economic incentives.

"The new Pioneer laboratory is exactly the kind of investment the Government of Puerto Rico has been working to foster to help move our island into R&D and other aspects of an innovation economy," said PRIDCO's Executive Director Javier Vázquez Morales.

Kentucky-based Blu Pharmaceuticals also opened a new generic drug manufacturing facility in Dorado in March. The company is expected to invest $60 million in the facility during the next three years and employ nearly 250 people as it manufactures seven different medicines it will supply to the U.S. government.

"The stars aligned for us in Puerto Rico," said Bill Luster, President of Blu Pharmaceuticals. "We were able to acquire a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for pennies on the dollar of what it would have cost for us to build an operation from the ground-up, plus we were able to tap into a highly talented workforce."

For more information, visit

For free broadcast quality downloads of b-roll and other videos and additional press materials, visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Sandy Gutierrez
    Chief Officer, Marketing and Communications
    Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company
    Cell: 787-438-1388