A precision fermentation manufacturer is planning to develop its first biomanufacturing facility in east central Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday announced Liberation Labs will invest $115 million to build the commercial-scale facility in Richmond and add 45 jobs.
Liberation Labs says the plant is part of an effort to commercialize alternative protein products through precision fermentation manufacturing.
The company’s goal is to build a network of facilities to accommodate 80% or more of the alternative protein market, making products for “existing major food brands as well as the growing network of food-tech innovators.”
The company closed on a $20 million seed round of funding in December, which it said would be used to develop the plant.
The facility will be built on a 36-acre lot in Richmond’s Midwest Industrial Park. Liberation Labs said the facility will have a fermentation capacity of 600,000 liters.
Co-founder and CEO Mark Warner said Richmond was a very attractive location for the company’s first facility.
“The three things a biomanufacturing facility like ours needs are sugar, power and people – and Richmond, Indiana, has them all,” Warner said in a news release. “While sugar and power are commodities, a workforce experienced in manufacturing is not, which is why Richmond really stands out.”
The company is slated to break ground this spring and expects to reach full commercial production by the end of 2024. The IEDC said the new jobs will come with average wages “well above” the state average.
“We are thrilled to add the expertise of Liberation Labs to our Industrial Park. Make no mistake, when a company of this caliber chooses to invest in Richmond, it’s a resounding vote of confidence that we are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Dave Snow. “With more jobs being created, and such a strong business model, I am confident this is just the beginning of a long and mutually prosperous relationship.”
The IEDC has offered Liberation Labs up to $830,000 in conditional tax credits and training grants, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs.
Wayne County is also set to consider additional incentives.
Inside INdiana Business will have more on the project from CEO Mark Warner in Wednesday’s Morning Briefing newsletter.