Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Biotech giant Amgen to open Tampa center, creating up to 450 jobs

TAMPA — Biotechnology giant Amgen is opening a facility in Tampa this October with promises to create as many as 450 jobs here by 2018.

The facility will be primarily back-office operations spanning four floors of Corporate Center One in Tampa, which neighbors Tampa International Airport to the east.

Amgen, which is investing $25 million in the Tampa project, specializes in developing medicine for diseases with few treatment options. Their focus areas include: oncology and hematology, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, bone health, nephrology and neuroscience. Based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the company operates in nearly 100 countries with nearly 20,000 employees worldwide.

It joins upward of 1,100 companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device sectors in Florida.

Ken Atwater, chairman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., said Amgen's move builds on Hillsborough County's efforts to attract more life science companies to the area such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson.

Amgen did not receive any tax incentives through the state job-creation agency Enterprise Florida, or any local incentives, economic development officials said.

The news came on the heels of Gov. Rick Scott's roundtable in Seminole earlier in the day where he insisted that Enterprise Florida is necessary to incentivize job creation in state.

Related coverage: Gov. Rick Scott hosts jobs roundtable in Seminole

At the roundtable, Scott said that Northrop Grumman was likely to bring 3,200 more jobs to Florida. All will be in St. Johns and Brevard counties.

"I don't know if we'll get all of them," Scott said, "but there's a potential for (3,200) more jobs only because they're here."

Another defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, has committed to bringing 920 new jobs. Of those, 140 will come to Pinellas County, while 780 will be split between Brevard, Palm Beach, Orange and Polk counties.

Northrop was one of several companies that made commitments to bring jobs to the state in exchange for incentive packages Scott offered through Enterprise Florida. In 2013, Northrop committed to adding 1,000 new jobs for one project.

Those jobs, however, haven't materialized to their full extent yet. Only 503 jobs had been confirmed for the 2014 reporting period, the most recent data available. The state Department of Economic Opportunity, which maintains the data, considers this to be on track, however.

Enterprise Florida currently gives businesses tax breaks as an incentive for creating more jobs in the state. Earlier this month, the Florida House voted to shut down the agency down with an 87-28 vote. The Florida Senate has not acted on that measure.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] Follow @malenacarollo.

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