Germany-based Evonik announced Thursday that it will expand its pharmaceutical production facility in Lafayette and create 80 jobs. The company, which produces the active ingredients for medications, said the total investment for the project will be $220 million, with the U.S. government funding up to $150 million through its Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
The plant will build produce lipids for mRNA-based therapies in the United States. Lipids are molecules that contain hydrocarbons and make up the building blocks of the structure and function of living cells.
BARDA, which is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, promotes the advanced development of medical countermeasures to respond to 21st century health security threats.
During the pandemic, Evonik providing lipids to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination campaigns worldwide.
“With this investment in lipid production, we are further expanding our leading position on the global market and specifically strengthening our Health Care business,” said Evonik CEO Christian Kullmann. “It supports our strategic transformation into ‘Next Generation Evonik’, contributing value-added solutions with superior environmental and socio-economic profiles to our customers.”
Evonik already operates a plant in Tippecanoe County, employing 650 workers. In October 2009, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. announced it was selling its Tippecanoe Laboratories manufacturing facility to Evonik. The manufacturing site remained in operation with a focus on producing active pharmaceutical ingredients.
“As a strategic partner for pharma and biotech companies, we are using the new facility to support our customers in developing nucleic acid-based drugs right up to commercialization. These new therapies are the future,” said Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik’s Health Care business. “We are also evaluating further expansion of our formulation services and scale-up capacity, thereby consolidating our leading position as an end-to-end provider.”
Evonik said the new facility will allow for the rapid and flexible production of a variety of lipids, which could be used to produce therapies and vaccines for current infectious diseases and a future pandemic.
Construction will begin in 2023 and the new plant will become operational in 2025.
Pending approval by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. board of directors, the IEDC will commit an investment in Evonik Corp. of up to $2.1 million in the form of incentive-based tax credits and up to $250,000 in conditional training grants. The IEDC will also offer up to $3 million from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit program based on the company’s planned capital investment in Indiana.