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In 2008, generic pharmaceuticals firm Biovail decided to transfer its manufacturing operations from Puerto Rico to Steinbach, Canada, leaving hundreds of people unemployed. While Biovail was leaving the Puerto Rico market, Kentucky-based Blu Pharmaceuticals, LLC was looking for a new solid dosage facility to manufacture generic pharmaceutical products, as part of its manufacturing growth strategy. Blu Pharmaceuticals focuses on the manufacturing and distribution of high quality generic pharmaceuticals at competitive prices. The company purchased the closed Biovail 145,000 square foot production plant in January 2010, through a $10 million transaction.
As part of the project, the company obtained a $3.6 million SBA-guaranteed 504 loan. Blu Caribe began operations in Dorado, Puerto Rico in April 2010, by re-hiring almost 100 of Biovail’s former employees and producing the first batches of the generic antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the U.S. market.
Since opening day, Blu Caribe has grown to 240 employees and plans to continue hiring. The company expects to produce two billion tablets during its first year of operations, and plans to further increase annual production capacity to around four billion tablets by 2013. The company is making a capital investment of $3.8 million to support the launch of two other generic drugs by the second quarter of 2011.