At a time when many firms are closing plants, the UK’s Shire has announced plans to expand one of its facilities in the USA and invest over $390 million in the process.

The firm’s Shire Human Genetic Therapies unit says it intends to remain in Massachusetts and will spend $394 million to expand its Lexington campus, making it the global centre for the division’s R&D and production. Shire HGT currently has 675 employees in the state, and the decision to stay will result in the creation of an estimated 680 additional jobs over the next eight years.

Shire HGT says the location offers many advantages to the company, given its “proximity to the Cambridge area life science cluster” and the presence of “an exceptional talent pool and highly skilled workforce”. However it acknowledges that an important factor in the company’s decision to stay was the commitment of $40.5 million in tax and non-tax incentives.

Bill Ciambrone, senior vice president of technical operations at Shire HGT, said that the commitments of Governor Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the legislature and the town of Lexington itself “demonstrate an understanding of the intense competition across the country to attract life science companies like Shire HGT”. He added that “it is clear that all parties recognise the value of this level of job creation, especially in manufacturing”.