Biotech firm Algaeon plans $25M lab in Westfield

June 10, 2014
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Biotech firm Algaeon Inc. plans to move its algae-growing operation from Indianapolis to Westfield, investing $25 million and adding 25 jobs over the next five years.

The company, which makes dietary supplements derived from algae, is finalizing a lease for vacant industrial space it wants to transform into a high-tech lab, said Mike Neibler, the company’s vice president of business development.

Plans calls for installing fermentation tanks capable of producing 300 metric tons of algae by 2019, he told Westfield City Council on Monday. The facility at 17406-17408 Tiller Court also will process a different variety of algae Algaeon is growing in nearby greenhouses owned by strategic partner Heartland Growers.

Algaeon raised $5 million from investors in the past three years to fund the first phase of improvements at both locations, Neibler said, and revenue from two lucrative contracts is expected to finance planned growth. Construction could begin as soon as this month.

The company hopes to have its staff of 14 working in a new facility by mid-August, before its lease on space at 8440 W, 82nd Street expires. It plans to add five positions each year beginning this fall, Neibler said. The average annual salary for the advanced jobs: $80,000.
 
Council members unanimously approved a resolution establishing the Tiller Court property as a so-called economic revitalization area, the first of three steps in the process of authorizing a tax abatement. Algaeon will seek to phase in personal property taxes on new equipment during the five-year buildout, Neibler said.

The General Assembly this year passed a package of statewide business-tax cuts that allow municipalities to offer personal-property abatements for up to 20 years, twice as long as now allowed, as an economic development tool. Counties also have the option of eliminating the obligation for companies with less than $20,000 in taxable business equipment.

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