Construction began Wednesday on pharmaceutical manufacturer Jubilant HollisterStier’s $92 million expansion in Spokane that’s expected to create at least 200 new jobs.
Jubilant HollisterStier makes pharmaceuticals used in the global fight against COVID-19, including vaccines and therapeutics. The company, a subsidiary of Jubilant Pharmma Limited, is the only such drug manufacturer in the state of Washington .
The company has said the 50,000-square-foot expansion will add a state-of-the-art high-speed injectable liquid filling line along with two 300-square-foot lyophilizers, which are used to freeze products that are less stable in liquid form to increase their shelf life.
While Jubilant’s existing 230,000-square-foot manufacturing plant can already produce 110 million vials per year via two fill lines, the additional line is expected to increase Jubilant’s capacity by 50%.
Commercial availability is expected by the end of 2024.
Hiring has already begun for the jobs needed with the expansion. Jubilant President Amit Arora said the company is seeking a mix of skilled workers, such as engineers, as well as entry-level candidates “who will be groomed to become highly skilled.”
Arora said he believes advancement opportunities within the company and a competitive medical benefits package should help Jubilant overcome hiring challenges amid labor shortages seen by businesses nationwide.
“All in all put together, we should be and we have been able to attract good talent in the last six years I’ve been here, at least,” he said. “Is it becoming difficult? Absolutely, but it’s not becoming impossible.”
Sridhar Krisnan, global head of operations at Jubilant Life Sciences Limited, added, “While we have all of these hiring challenges, one of the things we also try to do – other than making them to be very qualified people, very integral people, with good paying jobs – we also keep telling them what we really do is something with a noble cause, which not everybody does.”
Jubilant is building the expansion on a gravel lot along the northwest part of the North Regal Street property. Arora said the project site, currently used for parking and storage, was purchased around seven to eight years ago with growth in mind.
Arora and Krishnan were joined at the site for Wednesday’s groundbreaking by other Jubilant staffers as well as state and local dignitaries, including Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward; state Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane; Spokane City Councilman Michael Cathcart and a staff representative for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
“They have such a big impact on the community,” Cathcart said. “It’s really great to see such a big expansion. Fifty percent growth is going to be huge.”