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Positron moving $65M project from Noblesville to Gary

July 23, 2012

A troubled central Indiana nuclear medicine company is dropping plans to build a $55 million facility with 86 workers in Noblesville after reaching a better deal with Gary.

Instead, Fishers-based Positron Corp. said it plans to build a $65 million facility in Gary that would employ up to 50 people within five years.

Positron will make radioactive medical imaging isotopes at the new plant, which will be equipped with a 70-million-electron-volt cyclotron, it said in a press release issued Friday.

In a separate press release, Positron said the Gary project would replace plans for Noblesville.

Cyclotrons are molecular particle accelerators that can be used to produce isotopes that can help physicians spot medical anomalies in the human body. The Gary plant will boast the nation's most powerful commercial cyclotron, the company said.

Gary has approved $15 million in tax increment financing bonds for Positron and is helping the company land New Market Tax Credits worth another $15 million, Positron said.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told The Times of Munster that the cyclotron facility fits nicely into the city's "meds and eds" economic development strategy.

The company said last June that it planned to move its operations to Noblesville and build a $55 million cyclotron, creating 86 jobs. The company had about 15 employees as of last September.

Noblesville proposed offering the company up to $6.7 million in incentives to help it acquire equipment, and the state offered $900,000 in tax credits and $250,000 in training funds.

"The decision for amending the cyclotron’s location was purely based on the economics and advantages provided in Gary, which best suit the company’s strategy," Positron said in a written statement.

Positron has lost tens of millions of dollars in recent years, and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission last year accused CEO Patrick G. Rooney of defrauding investors in a hedge fund he operates.

The company has racked up more than $110 million in losses since its founding in 1983. Its accounting firm issued a "going concern" warning about Positron in 2010, raising doubt about its ability to remain in business in the long term. 

 

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