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If you build it, they will come
RAVENSBURG, Germany—Taking a huge step toward expanding its global footprint, German biopharmaceutical company Vetter stands poised to pour $320 million into the development of 18 acres in Des Plaines, Ill., for the construction of a 1.2 million-square-foot manufacturing plant, the German company’s second and largest U.S. site, thus strengthening its strategic partnership plan. Vetter’s economic development agreement with the state of Illinois is expected to create up to 500 jobs designed to meet the market supply needs of commercialized drugs by 2030. Although the deal, forged July 12, appears to be a go, final approval rests with Des Plaines City Council.
If the project goes as planned, the new facility would complement Vetter’s existing site at the Illinois Science+Technology Park in nearby Skokie, Ill., which has approximately 70 employees.
Plans call for Vetter to first purchase the Des Plaines property, then demolish a former Salvation Army office campus before groundbreaking can begin. While Vetter is expected to receive some kind of tax abatement for investing and building in Illinois, Markus Kirchner of marketing/corporate communications at Vetter says, “We cannot comment on any financial incentives to the company at this stage.”
Vetter is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and a global leader in the fill and finish of aseptically prefilled syringe systems, cartridges and vials. The company provides manufacturing from early clinical development through commercial filling and packaging of parenteral drugs.
For a couple of years “several of our customers have requested commercial manufacturing opportunities in both the U.S. and Europe,” according to Vetter officials.
“Based on that desire, combined with our long-term strategy for worldwide growth, we started searching for a potential property,” Kirchner tells DDNews. “The purchasing process with accompanying required activities in Des Plaines is ongoing.”
Furthermore, a successful purchasing activity “supports our ability for preparations that put us in the position to offer our customer base greater flexibility in global manufacturing for the future,” he says.
“Our preliminary concept is to create a facility that offers our global customer base a U.S. manufacturing opportunity for their market supply needs, complementing our existing U.S. clinical development support service offering,” Kirchner explains. “This facility will be equipped with all necessary site functions such as in its core the production division, supplemented by quality, supply chain and administrative functions.”
The decision for Des Plaines “was backed on to a couple of decisive reasons,” according to Kirchner. “One, Des Plaines offers a diverse business environment that is focused on success and growth. We discovered a workforce in greater Chicago that is committed to exceptional customer service and have the feeling that business gets done here, and that the local workforce is well-educated and hardworking. Of course, also the high quality of life we experience so far is an important additional factor, being relevant for our customer relations and employees' well-being.”
The CDMO’s Des Plaines project began to take shape in April when the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC) CEO Jim Schultz met with Vetter executives at Hanover Messe, Germany, site of the world’s largest industrial fair.
“We know that foreign direct investment is a major opportunity for Illinois,” says ILBEDC CEO Jim Schultz. “Our central location, with unparalleled access to North American markets, and our skilled workforce are major strengths to companies like Vetter. We were able to drive a deal that’s good for Illinois and good for Vetter.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner added, “Vetter will create hundreds of quality, high-skill jobs for Illinois residents, growing their presence in Illinois with lots of opportunity for future. The collaboration between the state, the ILBEDC and our local partners was instrumental in attracting an investment of this scope and magnitude, which will reap economic benefits for Illinois for years to come.”
“Several of our customers have requested commercial manufacturing resources both in the U.S. and Europe for their multi-faceted market production needs,” Vetter Managing Director Peter Soelkner says. “Being in a continuous dialogue with them, such a facility would enlarge Vetter’s geographical manufacturing opportunities, and thus, increase our customer’s flexibility.
In other recent news for the company, in April, Susanne Resatz, president of Vetter Development Services USA Inc., was named to the board of directors for the German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, whose 14-state territory encompasses 1,400 German businesses and about one-quarter of the nation's geographical area, population and GDP.