Oklahoma City approves $12 million bio-pharm plant

JULY 17–OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City is expanding its role in the field of biotechnology with a $12 million bio-pharmaceutical plant.

A financing plan to build a plant for Cytovance Biologics was unanimously approved Wednesday by trustees of the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority.

Cytovance Biologics Inc. would be built east of downtown Oklahoma City in the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park.

Commissioners approved building the plant with $7 million from the Tax Increment Financing District and agreed to spend an additional $5 million to build a second parking garage for the research park.

“We beat out Kansas City and St. Louis for this site,” Commission Chairman Fred Hall told KOCO Channel 5 News. “It’s really a coup for Oklahoma City to be able to obtain this first manufacturing site.”

The company will employ 40 to 60 people, including biologists and microbiologists, technical specialists and a quality assurance team.

Cytovance plans to spend $2 million to equip the 26,000-square-foot plant, which is expected to open by late 2004.

Cytovance will produce a new generation of medicines that use natural proteins and protein bases as a way to treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The plant will provide testing trials for drugs developed by other companies in Oklahoma City’s Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. Crowley predicted the plant will boost the profile of the research park, which has grown to five buildings in the past decade.

“Since the overwhelming majority of early-stage biologic medicine products are being developed in the U.S. by small- to mid-sized biotech companies with no in-house manufacturing capability and capacity, an opportunity exists for Cytovance’s Oklahoma facility to become the definitive contract manufacturer of choice for the production of proteins and antibodies for clinical trials,” Crowley said.

Promoters of the project say the plant is expected to cut development costs for companies already in the research park and boost Oklahoma City’s position in the bio-tech industry.

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