Lampire set to expand for antiserum production line
by Elizabeth Coyle, Gazette Managing Editor; For The Bedford Gazette
Lampire Biological Labs Inc. is set to expand its operations in West Providence Township with some funding assistance from a state program.
The company, which provides antibody services and products, immunochemicals and blood and biological products to the pharmaceutical industry, is anticipating it will open up a new sheep barn and a pump and utility room to add capacity for the company’s production of sheep polyclonal antiserum. The antiserum is used in diabetes testing, according to a press release from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Gregory F. Krug, president and CEO of Lampire, said the expansion is due to increased demand from the drug industry for its antibiotics products.
Lampire has produced the polyclonal antiserum for about 30 years of its 40-year history, Krug said. The company is stepping up production to keep pace with demand for a supply that is more and more being made overseas.
The U.S. “has lost a lot of our pharmaceutical manufacturing overseas. What we’re trying to do is keep being progressive” to battle overseas competitors, Krug said.
Krug said the project will cost about $650,000 to $700,000. The state awarded a $199,500, 15-year loan at 2.25 percent for the first seven years, through the Bedford County Development Association, as part of the financing for the project. The Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority and is funneled through the county’s development association.
Development association president Bette Slayton said her group acts as a funding conduit for Lampire, which repays the loan.
“The state relies on the local economic development group to advocate for local economic development projects,” Slayton said.
Krug said when the company first arrived in Bedford County in 1989, it rented space in West Providence Township where Lampire now owns four farms. The company decided to stay, especially, he said, after finding a climate that helped the business to grow.
“We got a lot of support from the local industries,” he said. “Our feed company — Morral Feed Company — is outstanding,” Krug said. It’s the largest of the feed companies he works with in the area. “They just do a tremendous job.”
The Pipersville (Bucks County)-based company decided to expand in Everett instead of at its eastern Pennsylvania headquarters, in part because of the area and its suppliers are able to provide services and equipment Lampire needs, Krug said. The area provides many suppliers the company needs, such as farm equipment, feed in bulk amounts and other agriculture-related products.
Krug credited the development association for its assistance in the project which will retain six jobs. Krug also expects the company to continue to expand.
“Bette Slayton’s team has been phenomenal. Over half our work force is in Bedford County — over 60 employees. That will be increasing,” he said. The positions are not just entry level but also for technical positions, veterinarians, quality assurance, and positions filled by Ph.D.’s in some cases, he said.
Slayton said the Lampire expansion “shows the steady growth of Lampire Biological Labs in Bedford County,” giving the area “great exposure to the biotech industry.”
Lampire and local educators are working hand in hand to promote that exposure. Lampire helped to develop the biotech curriculum at the Bedford County Technical Center, for example.
Lampire’s Everett complex is the location for about 25 different buildings and structures that house 16 different varieties of animals. The company overall houses large domestic farm animals and small animals for custom antisera, bulk sera, plasma, and red cell production programs.
Krug said the company will spend the next weeks building water and sewer lines to the project area and connecting electrical power.
“We plan to keep on expanding out there,” Krug said. “You’ve got all these community groups helping you, how can you help but grow.”
Visit Lampire’s website at www.lampire.com