A global life sciences company plans to invest a massive $97 million in the Richmond area to expand its clinical research operations in response to increased demand for its services.

Over the next three years, the Thermo Fisher company will open three bioanalytical labs — two in Henrico County and one in Richmond — adding about 500 new employees to its local workforce of more than 1,200.

The majority of the expansion will take place in immunochemistry and chromatography, with biomarker and vaccine sciences following suit.

READ MORE: THERMO FISHER’S EXPANSION WILL CREATE MORE THAN 100 JOBS

The facilities will support rising demand across biopharma for laboratory services to quicken drug development.

Thermo Fisher’s announcement adds to its local laboratory operations, which it acquired in December when it paid $17.4 billion-plus assumption debt for PPD Inc.

PPD, previously called Pharmaceutical Product Development, operates a bioanalytical laboratory on Dabney Road in Henrico.

Thermo Fisher plans to expand in Henrico by constructing two new bioanalytical labs, one in the former Toys R Us building at 8700 Quioccasin Road, across from Regency mall, and the other at 2250 Dabney Road, near its existing Henrico lab.

The business also will begin a third bioanalytical lab at the Virginia Biotech Park in downtown Richmond.

The expansion bodes well for the Richmond region and its mounting presence of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies and manufacturers, said Leonard Sledge, the city’s economic development director.

He continued “I think today’s announcement continues to demonstrate the strength of the life sciences industry in the greater Richmond region, as much as we’re able to continue to demonstrate our ability to collaborate and grow the life sciences industry within and across our borders, it creates economic opportunities for everybody.”

Anthony J. Romanello, executive director of the Henrico Economic Development Authority, said: “The fact that we’ve got a life sciences company that is doing such important work and they continue to expand in our region, it’s just really good for the entire Richmond region. It speaks to our business environment. It speaks to our labor environment that they continue to want to grow here,”

Thermo Fisher expects to add nearly 150,000 square feet of space to its existing portfolio in the region over the next three years.

In Richmond, Thermo Fisher will take over about 20,000 square feet in the 262,000-square-foot Biotech 8 building at 737 N. Fifth St, Sledge said.

That building in the Virginia Biotech Park had been the former downtown headquarters of bankrupt blood-testing lab Health Diagnostic Laboratory.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch

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