Spokane Journal of Business

Jubilant HollisterStier plans $70 million expansion

Pharmaceutical maker expects to add 400 jobs while doubling space, capacity

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Spokane-based Jubilant HollisterStier LLC is planning to double its existing space and manufacturing capacity and add 400 employees during the next three years, says Amit Arora, president of the pharmaceutical manufacturing company.

The project, which will require an estimated $70 million investment by the company, will be funded internally and through loans from banks or other financial institutions, he says.

Jubilant HollisterStier manufactures and packages vaccines and therapeutics, from cancer drugs and related vaccines to antifungal injections.

The company currently is also manufacturing vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, says Arora.

The most well-known drug the company is manufacturing is therapeutic remdesivir, says Jack Wright, vice president of sales and marketing. Arora adds that the company is currently manufacturing four COVID-19 related products on site, though he declines to disclose specifics.

"We're working to expand more production for them in the coming months with some efficiency gains," says Wright. "But really what the long-term focus is, is we know COVID is looking to stay around with mutating strains, so we want to be able to handle the surge capacity."

Currently, the company has two manufacturing lines with the capacity to fill 110 million vials a year, Arora says. With the expansion, which will add a roughly 120,000-square-foot, two-story structure to its facilities at 3525 N. Regal, the company will be able to fill 220 million vials.

About 100,000 square feet will be for the two manufacturing lines the company plans to install, while roughly 20,000 square feet will be warehouse space.

The company plans to break ground within the next three monthsand supplies for one of the new lines will be ordered within the next six weeks, he says. The two-phase expansion will be located next to the company's current manufacturing facility space on roughly 7 acres of land owned by the company.

Integrated Project Services LLC, a Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical manufacturing consulting company, designed the expansion. A contractor hasn't been selected.

"We're looking at expanding our capacity by 50%," he says, adding, "Our plan is to double the capacity over the next three years from 110 million vials to 220 million vials, with 400 more jobs."

Those jobs will include a mix of degree-required quality positions and operations positions for which training will be provided onsite. There also will be project manager positions, which will require applicants to have certain certifications, says Arora.

Wright says, "We're expanding to increase our capacity first and foremost due to customer demand of existing customers, which includes the big pharmaceutical companies that we all have heard of in our households lately, as well as emerging biotech and the new therapies that are coming out requiring more sophisticated equipment and more technology than we currently have."

Wright adds that the expansion also will help meet expected continued demand for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Currently, the company is running 24/7 to meet demand, a change that the company has made within the last 18 months and that Arora says will likely stick around.

Jubilant HollisterStier currently has 850 employees in Spokane. 

The company has experienced double-digit revenue growth over the last five years, and Arora says he expects that growth to continue.

The company currently serves 25 customers, primarily in North America, but also has clients in Europe and Asia, says Wright.

"Our customer mix is from big pharma to biotech-type companies working on monoclonal type antibodies for a few generic companies in our portfolio," says Wright.

Even if the demand for COVID-19 related products declines in the next year, the company has enough demand from existing customers to keep the company busy for the next two years, Arora says.

This is hardly the company's first foray into manufacturing drugs during a virus outbreak, adds Arora. The company, which will celebrate its 100th year next year, manufactured over 20 million vials, or 100 million doses, to treat the H1N1 virus in 2009.

"We've been a part of the vaccine world for the last 20 years," says Arora.

Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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