On the Move: US Biological to Relocate & Expand

June 27, 2011

Because of Massachusetts’ identity as the unsurpassed leader in the global biotechnology industry, many of its cities and towns have been adopting local policies that greatly ease the pathway for renovation or new construction of biotech laboratory and manufacturing facilities.

United States Biological Corporation (USBio) can attest to the appeal of such increasingly supportive public policies.

The Marblehead-based life sciences company, which had outgrown its current 15,000-square-foot facility, broke ground in January on its new 50,000-square-foot manufacturing and office  headquarters on Technology Way in Salem. The move, spurred by the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) approval and a $2.33 million bond issued by the state’s finance and development agency MassDevelopment, will allow USBio to expand its operations and workforce.

“We’re quadrupling our lab space, doubling our manufacturing space and adding extra meeting rooms, lobby space and larger conference rooms with integrated dining facilities in order to  accommodate lectures, tutorials and distributor workshops,” said USBio President Warren Shore. “We have over 30 distributors worldwide and need to develop stronger relationships with them. Maybe sales meetings during Halloween in Salem would be a treat for our overseas colleagues.”

“And we’ll hopefully be fulfilling our promise to add more jobs on the North Shore,” he continued.

The company, which has modestly grown from one employee to 30 in the past 15 years, has been based in Marblehead for 12 years. When Shore, a Massachusetts native, originally founded USBio, he subcontracted the manufacturing and shipping operations to a company in Texas.

“We quickly outgrew that and moved the manufacturing up here,” said Shore. “It became too  cumbersome to do it remotely.”

Today, USBio produces and distributes biochemicals, antibodies, recombinant proteins, cell culture media and molecular biology kits that are used in virtually all scientific applications and settings, including genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and the diagnosis of disease.

The increased space of the new Salem facility will allow the company to delve deeper into the biodiagnostics field. Shore also hopes to create a minimum of five new jobs, as well as a co-op program with Salem State University.

When Shore began thinking about expanding, he knew he wanted to stay local, since a majority of his employees live on the North Shore. He met with Peter Abair, MassBio director of economic development, for assistance and to learn more about the business incentives available in  Massachusetts.

"We went to MassBio for direction, discussing our options for building or relocating,” said Shore. “They had a very strong team who helped us get our TIF, brokered the meetings in Salem, and laid the blueprint for us to make this move.”

USBio worked with MassBio member New Landmark Group to maximize available incentives.

In July of last year, at Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll’s urging, the City Council approved USBio’s TIF
request and granted the company $167,209 in tax abatements over 13 years. The TIF also allows  the company to seek thousands of dollars in additional tax incentives through the state’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council.

“It was a combination of the tax incentives and a strong cooperation with the local government that
made this the perfect move for us,” said Shore. “Salem has a good reputation for supporting its
businesses.”

Helping to fast-track the project, MassDevelopment issued USBio the $2.33 million bond in January. The bond is coupled with a $1 million conventional loan from the National Grand Bank of  Marblehead.

Shore hopes to be able to move into the new facility in November.

For help accessing incentives or other resources for growth, contact Peter Abair at 617-674-5100 or
peter.abair@massbio.org.

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