Shire held its grand opening of its state-of-the-art Georgia Manufacturing Facility, located in Stanton Springs Industrial Park last Thursday, and invited guests had the opportunity to learn more about what Shire does, heard from several speakers, and had the opportunity to tour the facility.

Carlos Soto, Georgia Site Head of Shire, presided over the ceremony, welcoming everyone, and giving a bit of history of the facility. He praised the state for its bio-science training center that it created to help fill the positions at Shire. It is located adjacent to the plant.

He commented about the facility and the abundance of natural light and open work spaces. He spoke of Shire’s commitment to patients with rare diseases, and said the patients are the reason they are there.

Then, Dayna Fladhammer, Immunology Patient Engagement Director for Shire who spoke on what it is like toe have four children, all with immunodeficiencies. She spoke of the work Shire does, and how important it is for people such as her children.

“As you walked into this building, you might have seen this amazing, phenomenal light. The light that just shines in and you might have been impressed with the size of it or the thought that went into it. When I walk into this building, I see the people who are standing up here. These are the employees who make my children’s medicine. These are the people that make it possible for my children to go to school. The people standing and sitting up here on the top are the reason my children have a future,” she said.

After she gave some background of her children’s health issues, including 120 sick visits in 18 months, she said, “I hope more than anything that when you leave this building you will remember that what is done here matters. It matters. We are real people on the other side of this medication and we have hopes and we have dreams and we have spent a lifetime looking for answers.”

After Mrs. Fladhammers’s moving remarks, the group heard from Pat Wilson, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Gov. Nathan Deal had planned to attend, but apparently the effects of Hurricane Michael prevented him from attending.

Mr. Wilson said, “This state-of-the-art facility is an amazing economic development win not only for this community, not only for the bioscience ecosystem that we’ve created here in Georgia, but really for the entire state.”

He thanked Shire for choosing Georgia, and praised the work that Shires does.

Julie Kim, Shire, part of the original site selection team for the Georgia facility made the following remarks:

“I’m sure as you were listening to Dayna’s story, you can’t help but be moved by it and this is what gives us purpose every day with what we do. This purpose is also fueled by the stark statistics that characterize rare diseases, and this at the heart of what we do:

•The need is staggering and personally felt. Of the over 7,000 rare diseases only five percent have treatment available.

•Nearly 50 percent of rare diseases begin in childhood, and unfortunately, 30 percent of children with a rare disease will not live to see their fifth birthday.

•In the U.S. and UK, the average time to obtain a correct diagnosis is 5-7 years, with some people suffering well into adulthood before receiving a diagnosis and that often happens after visits to eight specialists on average.”

Then, because she was part of the site selection team. she related why they chose Georgia:

“I won’t go through all of the details but will share again why we chose the great state of Georgia and this site in particular. We literally started with the globe and over 100 potential sites, but we chose this one largely due to three factors.

• First, it had a robust infrastructure in terms of transportation and all of the utilities that are needed for this scale of facility.

• Second, the ability to have a robust talent pipeline as there are over 1,000 jobs, many of them requiring technical skills.

• Third and most importantly, the partnership shown by Governor Deal’s office as manifested by the beautiful bioscience training center that is a part of the state’s Quick Start program.”

Several other people spoke, before the crowd disbursed, and many went to tour the facility.

Shire Holds Grand Opening
Kathy Mudd• The Monticello News Thu, Oct 18, 2018