Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is building a second research and development center in Puerto Rico that will create up to 100 new jobs on the island, which is home to a thriving agro-biotechnology cluster.
Pioneer worked closely with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company in planning for the new research center and was able to take advantage of new economic incentives to stimulate the establishment of more research-focused agro-biotechnology operations on the island.
"We are delighted that Pioneer is expanding its presence in Puerto Rico with this new research center," said Javier Vázquez Morales, executive director, Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. "This project exemplifies how Puerto Rico is transitioning from an agrarian and manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based economy."
Current plans include the remodel of a 22,000-square-foot facility into a state-of-the-art laboratory. The new facility is slated to open in early 2011 and will focus on marker technologies used to discover, characterize, and commercialize traits and seed varieties. It will be one of more than 100 Pioneer research centers operating around the world.
"Puerto Rico was a smart choice for many reasons," said John Soper, Pioneer VP of Crop Genetics Research and Development. "It has the same regulatory framework as the mainland United States -- including efficient transportation of seed -- but offers a longer growing season suitable for planting crops year-round."
"Equally important was the human resource talent we can find on the island," he continued. "The University of Puerto in Mayagüez is a top agricultural school that turns out a steady stream of quality scientists and agronomists."
Pioneer first established a presence in Puerto Rico in 1989 with a parent seed production facility. Today, the company's Salinas operation on the south coast of the island has about 130 permanent employees and hires more than 1,000 temporary workers at times during the growing season.
The new laboratory will be located within a few miles of Pioneer's existing 30,000-square-foot facility.
Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.
"This new Pioneer facility is exactly the kind of investment the Government of Puerto Rico has been working to foster," said Jose Perez Riera, Puerto Rico Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce.
Puerto Rico has a strong life science cluster with 52 pharmaceutical facilities, 49 medical device companies and more than $4 billion invested in manufacturing facilities by biotechnology companies such as Amgen, Eli Lilly and Abbott Laboratories since 2003.