The chief executive officer of BioCrossroads, the state’s initiative to grow Indiana’s life sciences sector, says Thursday’s announcement that New Jersey-based Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) plans to invest $350 million to expand its Bloomington operations sends a message to other drugmakers. “That we’re a great place to do business and that we have the talent required to fulfill their needs,” said Patty Martin. Still, the BioCrossroads chief says Indiana has work to do to ensure a steady supply of talent to work in advanced manufacturing.
“We need to focus on being able to upskill our manufacturing employees to ensure that they’re ready for the very sophisticated advanced manufacturing capabilities and skills that are required to support these industries,” Martin said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business.
Click here to listen to more of the conversation with IIB reporter Wes Mills and Patty Martin.
Drugmaker Catalent says its planned expansion will add roughly 1,000 jobs by the end of 2023. That comes on top of more than 1,000 positions it has added since January 1, 2021.
The company says the new investment will allow it to expand its drug product manufacturing and vial-filling capabilities.
“These products are highly sophisticated and require sophisticated skills, and we have a workforce that’s ready and willing to step up to that challenge,” said Martin. “What we don’t want to do is be in a position where we’re recruiting these companies here and we can’t provide them with what they need.”
On Tuesday, BioCrossroads released its annual Indiana Life Sciences Capital report. The state’s life sciences initiative says Hoosier life sciences companies accessed more than $15 billion in capital last year, a $6 billion increase over 2020.
The majority of the capital was through merger and acquisition activity, with 13 transactions representing $13.7 billion.
The state has agreed to provide Catalent with $40 million in tax credits and up to $2.5 million in training grants for the jobs added in 2021 and planned through next year. The IEDC also committed an additional investment of up to $1.5 million in redevelopment tax credits.
“Indiana is making strategic investments in those businesses, like Catalent, to advance smart technologies and processes, and that investment has allowed Indiana to become the second largest exporter of life sciences products in the U.S. and is recognized as a world leader in the industry,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. “”Indiana’s vibrant and unique life sciences industry continues to make a tremendous impact on the Hoosier state through its economic strength, contributing more than $79 billion in 2021.”
Catalent operates a 1-million-square foot manufacturing facility in Monroe County. The Bloomington facility has recently been used to produce the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, among other biologic and pharmaceutical products.
“Catalent is certainly an organization that can do its business anywhere,” said Martin, who adds the state’s central location and logistics strengths are key. “We’re centrally located in a way that really benefits their particular manufactured products, which are those that are it’s very important to be able to access the rest of the country in the world from here, and we can do that.”