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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Amgen: Three impactful decades in Puerto Rico

The leading biomanufacturing company contributes to the island’s continuous development & economic growth

By The Star Staff

For the past 30 years, Amgen has developed a legacy and a significant local presence within the biomanufacturing industry. It has been a protagonist in the growth of the Puerto Rican community in the municipality of Juncos. Since the beginning of its operations in 1992, Amgen-Puerto Rico has invested some $4.27 billion in its operations and expansion on the island. It has contributed to the development of Puerto Rican talent and driven favorable growth and commercial impact for the manufacture of medicines and biopharmaceuticals in Puerto Rico and globally. Amgen’s biomanufacturing plants in Juncos have achieved excellent quality and an exceptional compliance track record. The company has established strong relationships with the government, nonprofit entities and academia for the past three decades, thus continuously supporting development and economic growth on the island.

Brenda Torres Rivera, vice president of Amgen’s Puerto Rico operations, said: “Having a cutting-edge vision and a solid scientific foundation to develop the high-profile biomanufacturing industry on the island is one of Amgen’s priorities and has been the essence of our culture for the past three decades.”

“The company was established to contribute to biotechnology’s potential,” said the first Puerto Rican woman to lead Amgen’s operations in Puerto Rico. “Our success is based on the ability to drive scientific innovation at all levels of our organization. Improving the quality of life of our patients is our ultimate and primary goal.”

Torres Rivera added that Amgen’s commitment to science goes beyond manufacturing plants.

“We rely on the scientific method to improve human biology; the role played by genes and proteins is the cornerstone of our method to make our company a global biomanufacturing leader,” she said. “We value research, logical and rational processes. We seek to ask the right questions, collect and analyze relevant data and make informed decisions with the most specialized talent to develop the biomanufacturing industry on the island.”

Amgen & its impact on Puerto Rico

Amgen has a state-of-the-art biotech facility in about 1. 6 million square feet on 220 acres to manufacture medicines and biopharmaceuticals in Juncos. Ninety percent of Amgen’s drugs and biopharmaceuticals globally are manufactured on the Amgen Puerto Rico campus. The biomanufacturing company’s facilities, whose operation is continuous -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- formulate, manufacture, fill/package and distribute medicines and biopharmaceuticals to over 100 countries worldwide. Currently, Amgen has a workforce of more than 2,400 regular full-time associates and generates some 1,500 indirect jobs within the industry.

Since its inception, the company’s contributions to biotechnological manufacturing of human therapies have been driven by a solid scientific commitment to improving patients’ quality of life in Puerto Rico and around the world.

“Three decades of excellence … three decades of continuous improvement … three decades of dedicated commitment to improving the lives of patients, the community, and the environment,” Torres Rivera pointed out. “We are committed to the highest quality within the biomanufacturing industry worldwide and focus on protecting Earth, as environmental sustainability is one of our top priorities.”

Amgen has a far-reaching environmental commitment and has been recognized by federal and state regulators for its cultural values in protecting the environment and promoting resource sustainability – energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling.

Amgen & community social investment

Through the Amgen Foundation, the company’s main philanthropic channel in Puerto Rico for community and charitable initiatives, Amgen has contributed to the development of communities on the island through its grant programming focused on the pillars of STEM education (science, engineering, mathematics and technology) and social justice. Since its launch in 1991, the Foundation has donated more than $20 million to community-based nonprofits in Puerto Rico and more than $325 million globally.

The entity provides grants to community-based organizations offering charitable and educational programs that align with its mission and programs to impact Puerto Rico’s communities positively.

“Our philanthropic entity is the cornerstone for certain communities in our society to have access to tools, resources, and opportunities to thrive within and outside their communities,” Torres Rivera said.

Support for social, community & academic grassroots entities

As part of its grant programming, the Amgen Foundation supports various community-based entities focused on the development and growth of Puerto Rican society. These include the Alliance for a Drug-Free Puerto Rico, Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, Hogar Ruth, Caribbean Center for Science and Technology, and Center for Puerto Rico-Sila M. Calderón Foundation, among others. In addition, the company supports university centers focused on academic programs specializing in science, biomanufacturing and engineering, including the UPR Mayagüez Campus and the UPR Humacao Campus.

Community social investment for social justice

Besides bringing STEM education to the Puerto Rican community, the philanthropic entity promotes social justice, thus reaffirming its commitment to the island. As part of its social justice efforts in the community, the Amgen Foundation has granted over $350,000 from 2021 through 2023. The funds will benefit the Community Foundation of Puerto Rico, Sor Isolina Ferré Centers, Center for Puerto Rico-Sila M. Calderón Foundation, PECES and Hogar Ruth.

Strengthened support during the COVID-19 pandemic

In the face of the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Amgen Foundation and Amgen-Puerto Rico reinforced their support to help nonprofit entities continue their social work. As part of the efforts, the Amgen Foundation helped community-based entities renew and adapt their educational and community programs virtually due to the impact of COVID-19.

Commitment to the recovery & reconstruction of the island

The Amgen Foundation and Amgen Puerto Rico reaffirmed their commitment to Puerto Rico by designating $3 million to support immediate relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Maria. An additional $2 million was given for long-term reconstruction efforts on the island.

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