Pennsylvania invests $8.25 million in Reading formula manufacturer

With the infant formula shortage continuing to be a problem in the U.S., Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced an additional $8.25 million investment in ByHeart. 

ByHeart is the nation’s newest FDA-registered baby formula manufacturer and is located in Reading.. 

The investment will support increased capacity and hiring that will ultimately feed up to 500,000 more babies. 

“I promised to do everything I can to support Pennsylvania families, this $8.25 million investment does just that by allowing ByHeart to continue scaling up their business and nourishing more babies,” said Wolf. “What ByHeart is doing is amazing and innovative, I’m proud to invest in them and that they chose Pennsylvania as home.” 

The $8.25 million investment brings the state’s total investment in ByHeart to $10 million. The money is coming through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).  

“We are in a period of unprecedented demand and are incredibly proud to be in a position – as both the first new infant formula manufacturer to be registered by the FDA in 15 years, and as a company dedicated to farm-to-formula oversight and quality – to be able to pull levers to increase capacity and scale as quickly as possible to support parents during this challenging time,” said ByHeart Co-Founder and President Mia Funt. 

The initial $1.75 million RACP investment enabled ByHeart to complete their canning line and dry blend area at their new facility in Reading, contributing to the supply chain ByHeart has built, as the fifth infant formula manufacturer in the United States and the first new FDA-registered manufacturer to hit the market in more than 15 years. The state investment also supports the creation of 50 new jobs in Reading. 

Wolf touts state investment in new Berks formula manufacturer

Young mother Isabella Torres talks about the difficulty of finding infant formula with the current shortage. –

Governor Tom Wolf and a number of other state officials were in Reading Wednesday to promote the state’s investment in the new ByHeart infant formula manufacturing facility that opened there in March. 

Now in operation at a time when the nation is dealing with a significant shortage of infant formal, Wolf told employees of ByHeart that their work was more important than ever. 

“This is a new way for nursing children to get what they need at a time when there is a shortage,” he said. 

He noted that Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program provided a $1.75 million grant towards the expansion at the facility. 

ByHeart is one of only five infant formula manufacturers in the country and is the first new formula manufacture to open in the U.S. in the past 15 years. 

ByHeart acquired the facility in 2019 and updated it rather than using a third-party contract manufacturer as is more common in the industry.    

Mia Funt, president and co-founder of ByHeart said five years ago her company set out to take ownership of the formula supply chain to create a healthier formula, which is closest to actual breast milk. 

But she said she was pleased that besides reaching their goal to create a better formula for infants, they were able to open at a time when there was a critical need to bring more formula to market to make up for the shortages. 

“Our commitment was to create a formula closer to breast milk,” Funt said. “Little did we know how important that decision would be today. 

Among those speaking at the event was Isabella Torres, a young mother who lives in Reading who will be attending college in the fall. 

She said despite her efforts to breast feed her son, ultimately, she chose to feed him infant formula and it’s been a struggle to find the formula he needs. 

“They say breast is best, but I say fed is best,” said Torres. 

She expressed her gratitude to ByHeart for bringing more formula to market so that mothers can provide for their babies. 

Wolf also said the new manufacturing facility is a strong boost to the Berks County and Pennsylvania economy. 

“There is no other state in this country that can lay claim to what is going on here,” he said. 

Allentown officials, Governor break ground on Da Vinci Science Center

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf participates in a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown. PHOTO/PACAST –

Governor Tom Wolf today joined Allentown area officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $65 million Da Vinci Science Center in the city’s Neighborhood Investment Zone downtown. 

The state has made an $11 million state investment, through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), to expand the Da Vinci Science Center’s footprint with this second location to provide even more opportunities for hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) learning.  

“The Da Vinci Science Center has long been an innovative hub where children of all ages could experience hands-on STEAM learning,” said Gov. Wolf. “This investment in the center’s expansion is an investment in a bright future for every child who walks through the door and the local economy alike.” 

Plans are to construct a 67,300-square-foot new science center which will be home to more than 30,000 square feet of STEM-based interactive exhibits, an 8,600 square-foot STEAM Learning Center, a 150-seat demonstration theater, a grand courtyard and exhibit space.  

“The Da Vinci Science Center is grateful for the generous support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to make our new facility in downtown Allentown a reality,” said Lin Erickson, executive director and CEO of Da Vinci Science Center. “This project would not be possible without the support of Governor Wolf and the Lehigh Valley delegation and will ensure that Da Vinci Science Center is poised to inspire our students today to be the STEAM workforce of tomorrow.”  

Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds support critical expansion projects, provide opportunities for job creation and employment training, and community revitalization across the commonwealth. 

The Science Center will be located on Hamilton Street between 8th and 9th streets.