Creating Jobs. Saving Lives.
International Pharmaceutical Company Sets Up Shop in CLE
By Nicole Stempak
If Clevelanders were the type of people to describe the city under a unifying theme, they'd probably say something along the lines of, "Cleveland is a healthcare capital."
And, that's definitely true. After all, the city has the most concentrated area of hospitals and medical research centers in the nation - including the nationally recognized Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.
But, what if we told you that Cleveland also is home to one the world's most important facilities producing potentially life-saving treatments for people who develop serious antibiotic-resistant infections?
Turns out, we're doing that. And, it's creating all kinds jobs.
Meet Xellia Pharmaceuticals
Headquartered in Copenhagen, Xellia is a specialty pharmaceutical company wholly owned by Novo Holdings A/S. The company provides anti-infective treatments to branded, specialty and generic pharmaceutical companies in more than 70 countries worldwide.
In short, this company produces critical, life-saving medication.
In 2015, Xellia Pharmaceuticals chose Cleveland as the site of its North American warehouse and distribution center. It's the company's second U.S. facility.
CEO Carl-Aake Carlsson says the decision to set up shop in Northeast Ohio was a strategic investment in the company's future.
"We saw the opportunity to create something unique," he says. "The facility will become a very important part of our future supply chain for the U.S. and North American markets."
A Cleveland Revival Story
The company acquired the former Ben Venue Laboratories in Bedford, Ohio, just south of Downtown Cleveland. It was home to what used to be nation's largest injectable manufacturing facility until operations ceased in 2013.
Xellia acquired the plant in late 2015 and immediately began hiring staff to bring the plant back to life.
When it becomes fully operational, the Cleveland plant will significantly increase Xellia's capacity to manufacture, package, label and distribute sterile anti-infective injectable products.
"We are in the middle of a transformation," Carlsson says. "Our Cleveland facility represents a critical role in that journey."
Jobs Jobs Jobs
The Cleveland plant is a top priority for the company's growth. Xellia made considerable investments to the plant's four manufacturing facilities with site construction, upgraded equipment and improved facility designs.
And, through it all, the company has continued to not only hire new staff, but train them in cutting-edge innovation.
Xellia forged partnerships with several Cleveland organizations to attract area talent. It also hosted co-ops and hired interns from Cleveland State University. Xellia also sponsored Case Western Reserve University's chemical engineering senior design project team.
"Going forward, we intend to work with local educational institutions to help design relevant curricula and educate people who can be hired by the industry," Carlsson says.
The plant currently has about 130 employees. Most of the positions are in manufacturing and quality assurance and quality control along with some administrative functions such as IT, finance, HR, health and safety.
By the end of 2018, Carlsson hopes to add about 40 new jobs. He also anticipates obtaining final approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to resume commercial production.
Xellia will likely double the number of employees over the coming three years as operations continue to expand.
That's more than 100 jobs headed our way, as well as the opportunity to save lives.
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