US biotech company Alvogen broke ground last fall on their new corporate headquarters and pharmaceutical factory on the grounds of the University of Iceland science park in Reykjavik. The factory, which will belong to Alvogen’s syster company Alvotech, will specialize in the development and production of biosimilars which is is a biological medicine similar to another biological medicine that has already been authorised for use. Biological medicines are medicines made by or derived from a biological source, such as a bacterium or yeast.
Key reasons behind Alvogen‘s decision to locate in Reykjavik were Iceland‘s beneficial patent environment, the quality and education of Iceland‘s workforce and opportunities connected to the proximity to the University of Iceland. Along with the corporate headquarters and factory, the 120,000 square feet building will also house a biotech research centre and incubator to be operated by the University of Iceland.
Alvogen is a US biotech company operating in 34 countries which employs around 1.900 people. Their main markets outside of the United States are Hungary, South-Korea, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, China, Thailand and Taiwan. Alvogen in Iceland employs 50 people in its headquarters working on business operations such as: finance, quality control, marketing, law, computers and business development.
This project marks the beginning of the University of Iceland science park. Already in the science park is Decode genetics, a subsidiary of US Amgen as well as some smaller incubation phase companies. The city of Reykjavik has joined forces with the University of Reykjavik, University of Iceland and the University hospital in creating a unified strategy for a knowledge district in the Vatnsmyri area which is located next to the city center.
This is a very big event for the Reykjavik biotech ecosystem as it adds a large player with 200 employees working in the biotech industry to the system with a strong international sales network and foreign ownership. This increases the depth of the labor pool creating more opportunities for other companies and startups.