Evonik to break ground on $220M Lafayette expansion
Germany-based Evonik will Wednesday break ground on the previously-announced $220 million expansion of its pharmaceutical production facility in Lafayette. The expansion is expected to create more than 80 jobs by the end of 2025.
Plans for the expansion were first detailed in June 2022. The company, which currently employs about 650 in Lafayette, said the new facility will produce lipids for mRNA-based therapies that could be used to treat a variety of infectious diseases.
The company previously produced lipids for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic.
In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta shortly after the announcement, Evonik Global Project Manager Yvonne Hurt said mRNA technology shows promise in the treatment of other diseases.
“As the future of medicine, mRNA can be used to treat COVID. Potential areas could be the flu, Zika, HIV, or even cancer,” said Hurt. “It’s currently actually the most advanced way to deliver drugs.”
The U.S. government is funding up to $150 million toward the project through its Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which Hurt said puts the government at the head of the line when responding to another pandemic.
“This new facility really ensures a rapid and extensive supply of lipids in case of a future pandemic,” said Hurt. “The U.S. government gets priority access for a 10-year period and most favorite customer pricing on those lipids.”
The new plant is expected to be operational in 2025.
Gov. Eric Holcomb will join community leaders and executives from Evonik for the groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.