BLOOMINGTON - When Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. announced the sale of its Cook Pharmica unit to New Jersey-based Catalent Inc., company executives promised to "invest aggressively" in creating a leader in the rapidly-growing biologics sector. Eighteen months later, there is ample proof they meant it. Catalent has announced major expansion projects in recent months totaling $114 million in investment. Employment at the Monroe County facility, which stood at 270  a decade ago, is now at more than 950 and expected to hit 1,100 by year’s end.

In an interview for this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Catalent General Manager Denis Johnson talked about growth and the company’s commitment to Indiana.  

Johnson says growth in Bloomington is being fueled by product development and the growing biologics sector.  Biologics are drugs made from complex molecules manufactured using living microorganisms, plants or animal cells.

Expansion in Bloomington is aimed at increasing volume to meet growing demand for products. Catalent currently works with 18 of the top 25 biologics companies and its product mix has grown from 12 to 20.

Additionally, the company touts 120 commercial molecules in its product pipeline.

Johnson says Catalent is benefiting from Indiana’s life sciences history. "Some of the pioneers are in this area and are Hoosiers, such as Eli Lilly, such as Bill Cook in Bloomington," said Johnson. "That is a legacy and we’re leveraging the skill sets of the people and the knowledge that we're lucky to have in the area."

Cook Group announced the sale of its Cook Pharmica unit in September of 2017, as part of what it called "significant, positive changes for the future."

In addition to the $950 million agreement to sell its contract biopharmaceutical business to Catalent, Cook also announced the acquisition of the former GE refrigeration plant in Bloomington, with plans to add 500 additional jobs in Monroe County as part of a strategy to modernize its manufacturing process over the next decade.

Cook Pharmica was founded in 2004. Parent Cook Group currently employs over 12,000 worldwide and was established in 1963.

Catalent is a $2 billion a year, more than 80 year-old business with approximately 10,000 employees at more than 30 global facilities.