The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County announced it secured a $4.7 million federal grant and expects to obtain the required matching funds that will clear the way for a $10.6 million expansion of the facility in Buckingham Township near Doylestown.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the grant, which is the key to funding the long-planned expansion, officials said.
The expansion will add 38,000 square feet, including at least 40 offices, 15 laboratories, 80 freezer spaces and a 200-seat meeting room and cafeteria, said Lou Kassa, chief operating officer for the nonprofit center. It also will add more than 100 parking spaces to the lot outside the building on Old Easton Road.
“We are going as fast as we can to get the construction going,” Kassa said. “It’s still in the preliminary stages.”
He estimated it could take 18 months to two years to complete the work. A construction firm has not been selected.
The center has been growing since its opening a decade ago.
“It’s the success of the building and needing more room for companies to grow and to take more companies on board,” Kassa said. “We’ve been at full capacity for three years.”
The center is supported by local, county and state officials, as well as the entrepreneurs and business leaders at the center.
The main source of funding for the expansion is the federal grant, Kassa said.
An economic impact study released in March found that the center has created 727 jobs and spurred more than $1.8 billion in economic impact in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania the past three years.
“We envision this could be a potential biotech corridor,” Kassa said, who described the area as the pharma belt. “We’ve been very successful. We also have the talent for biotechnology/life sciences jobs. We have numerous companies that are successful right now. There’s a lot of great science going on.”
The center is anchored by the nonprofit Baruch S. Blumberg Institute of the Hepatitis B. Foundation, an organization focused on drug and diagnostics discovery for liver disease.