West Pharmaceutical Services, a global designer and manufacturer of pharmaceutical packaging and delivery systems, will invest $19 million to upgrade its production plant in Kinston.

The project will include new “infrastructure and machinery installations to provide value-added processing for our pharmaceutical customers,” said West spokesperson Tiffany Burke.

Burke declined to say how many new jobs might be created at the plant, which employs about 350 people.

“While we haven’t released a total number of new jobs, we are actively recruiting as we continue to grow our business,” she said. “We are actively increasing the skill set of our existing workforce through a number of internal and externally sourced training programs.”

The facility’s square footage will not increase but will be reconfigured to accommodate improved production of stoppers and syringe plungers, a sterile washing and validation process, and an automated inspection system, Burke said.

The facility currently uses compression-molding technology to produce syringe components, including needle shields, stoppers and plungers, and IV bag injection ports.

If it meets certain performance-based goals, West will receive an economic development grant for the project of up to $400,000 from Lenoir County.

“In the 40 years that West has been in Kinston, Lenoir County has been a tremendous partner, and we are incredibly grateful for the support they have provided, which has enabled us to continue to grow our business,” Tom Gribbin, operations director for West, said in a news release issued by Lenoir County and Lenoir County Economic Development.

State Rep. George Graham of Kinston and Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro praised West for its commitment to remain in Lenoir County and retool its plant.

“Capital Investment and a world-class site designation by West for the Kinston facility has the potential for job creation for our local workforce, the North Carolina Global TransPark, and for young people who will be graduating from high school,” Graham said. “This will hopefully aid in the fight to attract young talent back to Eastern North Carolina.”

West, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Exton, Penn., has 16 sites in the United States and Puerto Rico and 18 others throughout the world that provide design, manufacturing and analytical services to pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device companies.

The publicly held company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, reported sales of $1.4 billion in 2015.

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center