A biotech startup that has raised $6 million to develop a highly purified form of collagen used to support tissue generation plans to hire 43 people and stands to get a six-year tax abatement worth more than a quarter-million dollars.
GeniPhys Inc. plans to lease 8,200 square feet in an existing 80,000-square foot industrial building at 7750 Zionsville Road in Pike Township as it sets up its operation.
The company told the Metropolitan Development Commission it will invest more than $7.4 million in eligible taxable personal property to equip the new facility, including modular labs and related improvements to accommodate its administrative offices, research and development, and manufacturing operations.
In addition, the company plans to invest $1.56 million in non-eligible person property and $800,000 in real estate improvements.
The MDC staff is recommending that the commission approve a tax abatement that would save the company an estimated $260,449 over six years. The commission will consider the abatement at a meeting on Wednesday.
According to paperwork filed in the case, GeniPhys is expected to pay an estimated $141,532 in personal property taxes related to the new equipment over the six-year period. After the abatement period expires, the company is expected to pay an estimated $63,439 a year in personal property taxes related to the new equipment.
GeniPhys estimates the project will retain two jobs at an average wage of $65 an hour and create 43 jobs at an average wage of $40 an hour.
The company recently completed a $6 million Series A round of investment funding. The funding round included participation from Pier 70 Ventures, which has offices in Seattle, Washington and Indianapolis, as well as Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures and multiple individual investors.
The company told IBJ partner Inside Indiana Business in a 2021 interview that its Collymer material can be used to replace tissue that is lost in wounds and also forms “stable, fibrillar collagen scaffolds” that can help rebuild lost tissue.
Dr. Sherry Harbin, founder and chief science officer for GeniPhys, said when tissue is damaged by a wound, the healing process is slow and can leave scars because of the cells’ inability to produce collagen.
“Collagen is the support structure that surrounds and informs cells that reside within tissues,” she told IIB. “The collagen building block, combined with our bio-fabrication methods, allow us to make all sorts of different material formats.”
Harbin said the “collagen scaffold” that is created by the Collymer material restores tissue continuity immediately and supports new tissue formation.
Harbin founded GeniPhys in 2014 with the goal of commercializing the collagen polymer and biofabrication technologies developed within her Purdue University laboratory.
The company said the material is highly customizable and can address unmet needs in a variety of health care areas, including wound management, surgical reconstruction, orthopedics, cardiovascular, ears, nose and throat, and therapeutic cell and drug delivery.
GeniPhys said it will use the funding to support activities to bring its initial product to market, invest in manufacturing and regulatory capabilities, and expand its team.