US biotech company Biogen Idec has announced its intention to substantially increase the investment in its high tech production facility established in Hillerød municipality, north of Copenhagen. A further USD 225 million will now be added to the USD 339 million already invested in the plant which will produce Tysabri (natalizumab), the company's groundbreaking treatment for multiple sclerosis. Work at the Hillerød site is slated for completion by 2009 and will create an estimated 400 new jobs in addition to the 90 full time staff already employed.
Biogen Idec CEO Paul Coleman told Danish national newspaper Berlingske Tidende : "Hillerød is our production base outside the US. With the board's decision it's now certain that, once we're ready for production, we will have invested USD 563 million in the project with the possibility of further large investments."
While Europe's advanced industrial economies, Denmark included, often think of globalisation in terms of outsourcing and expansion abroad, Biogen Idec's announcement serves as a useful reminder that global commerce is very much a two way street. In the US and Asia particularly, ambitious companies are seeking European bridgeheads to capitalise on the EU's massive market potential, and Denmark is well placed to serve that purpose.
Jim Cain, the US ambassador to Denmark, commented to Berlingske Tidende that there is mileage for Denmark to gain in the US from telling the story about Biogen Idec's collaboration with Hillerød. In his view, the will to collaborate between the public and private sector, and the conditions for companies seeking to establish businesses in Denmark, are key messages in the Biogen Idec story that can correct misconceptions among American companies.
Biogen Idec is headquartered in Cambridge, MA and was formed in 2003. The company maintains research centres of excellence in San Diego, CA and Cambridge, MA. The company currently employs approximately 3,400 people worldwide.