Wilmington PharmaTech has announced plans to open a $17 million research and manufacturing facility on 2309 Sunset Lake Road in Newark. The firm currently employs 37 workers in the U.S. and operates out of four smaller locations in New Castle County.
Dr. Ke Li, director of operations at PharmaTech, today presented the company’s growth plans to the Council on Development Finance (CDF). He requested a $300,400 performance-based grant to support up to 139 new jobs and a $360,000 grant for assistance with capital costs.
When asked by the CDF about recruitment, Li stressed that PharmaTech would draw many of its skilled workers from local trade schools and the state’s existing labor pool of plant operators.
“The projection is 38 additional jobs for this year alone,” Li said, adding that the rest of the jobs will come over the next three or four years, depending on the terms of the grants.
The Delaware Prosperity Partnership worked closely with the firm to seek state support for the growth plan.
“The DPP team worked closely with Wilmington PharmaTech’s team to understand their growth plans, assess their readiness and then facilitate engagement with the Division of Small Business to develop an offer for Strategic Fund grant support,” said Kurt Foreman, DPP President and CEO.
Li noted that DPP’s support was “pivotal” to the process. “They really communicated with the state and guided us through the whole process,” he said. “As a small company, our experience dealing with the state government was limited.
State officials have expressed support for the plan.
“Wilmington PharmaTech’s expansion shows Delaware’s distinctive strength in supporting biotechnology and pharmaceutical start-up companies and builds on a foundation that began more than 200 years ago with the DuPont Company,” said Gov. John Carney. “We remain committed to supporting job growth throughout Delaware.”
PharmaTech, founded in 2003, works on a contract basis for pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms that outsource production of certain pharmaceutical ingredients. The business model is to help expedite product development and improve consistency.
“This marks the next wave of growth, positioning Wilmington PharmaTech as the leader in new drug manufacturing in the US,” said Hui-Yin Harry Li, Ph.D., president and CEO of Wilmington PharmaTech.
The firm’s existing locations include a 16,000 square foot building at 229A Lake Drive, a 50,000 square foot facility on Sunset Lake Road (previously owned by DuPont) and a 40,000 square foot building at Pencader Drive.