Bucks County Herald

PA Biotechnology Center breaks ground on $13 million expansion project



Breaking ground on the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center expansion, are from left, Bucks County Commissioner Charlie Martin, Biotechnology Center President Dr. Tim Block, state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Sheri Collins, and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center has launched a $13 million expansion to its facility that will add 47,000 square feet, including 29 new laboratories, an auditorium, cafeteria and rooftop deck to the life sciences incubator in Doylestown.

Elected officials, PA Biotechnology Center leadership, and key stakeholders donned hard hats and shovels on April 12 to formally break ground on the expansion.

Funded in part by grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant, the expansion will grow the campus by 40 percent and double the lab and office space available. The businesses that will occupy the new space are expected to create over 100 new science and biotechnology jobs in Bucks County. The expansion has enjoyed support from county, state and federal officials, as well as the entrepreneurs and business leaders located at the Biotech Center.

Elected officials at the event, including state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, and Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery, praised the center, which has brought new medicines, created 727 jobs and spurred more than $1.8 billion in economic impact in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania since it opened in Buckingham Township in 2006.

Managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and led by a board appointed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, the Biotechnology Center works as an "incubator" for nearly 40 small to mid-size science, research, and pharmaceutical companies as they develop ideas and grow their companies. The new space will allow existing tenants at the center to grow their business, as well as attract new tenants to the center. The facility has maintained a wait list for the past four years of businesses hoping to lease space, and over 50 percent of the planned expansion is already rented.

"I am enormously appreciative of the community support for what we are doing. Many wondered how well a biotechnology incubator would do on Old Easton Road, in Central Bucks. Now people agree this is a great place for innovation," said Dr. Timothy Block, president and co-founder of the Biotechnology Center and president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “Our formula: the passion of the Hepatitis B Foundation and Baruch S. Blumberg scientists, and the entrepreneurship and support of the community.”

Site preparation for the expansion has already begun. Construction is expected to take about two years, with a target completion date in early 2019.

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