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Sherri Richards, Published April 02 2014

Aldevron seeks tax exemption for expansion project

FARGO – Aldevron, a local biotechnology firm with facilities in Madison, Wis., and Freiburg, Germany, is expanding its production facility here, a project that aims to create 43 new jobs in five years, according to company projections.

Aldevron is seeking a five-year, 100 percent income tax exemption for the expansion from the state. Its application will be considered by the State Board of Equalization today in Bismarck.

The company produces nucleic acid products – plasmid DNA, proteins and antibodies – for research and clinical use. Its customers are pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

The expansion will consolidate Aldevron’s production of clinical-grade biologics in Fargo, said Brian Walters, Aldevron’s chief financial officer. Research-grade production will continue in Madison and Freiburg, Walters said.

Aldevron is now at 3233 15th St. S., Fargo. It soon will expand into a portion of 4801 Amber Valley Parkway, former home of PRACS Institute.

Aldevron made a $5.1 million offer to buy part of the PRACS campus last summer, a few months after the drug research company shut its doors unexpectedly.

Two PRACS buildings were instead purchased at auction by Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services.

Aldevron will lease its space. The company received a property tax exemption from the city of Fargo last October for the site.

Walters said administration will likely move over to Amber Valley Parkway in the next month or two. Research-grade production will move into the new facility in the next two to three months, and clinical-grade production in nine to 12 months, Walters said. Some of the operations will remain in its current facility, he said.

Aldevron started in a lab at North Dakota State University in 1998, its website states.

It has 47 full-time equivalent jobs with an average hourly wage of $19.42, according to its income tax exemption application. The number of employees is expected to grow to 90 with an average hourly wage of $26.20 by the fifth year of its expansion project.

Walters said the income tax exemption, as well as the city property tax exemption, “helps accelerate the pace of our expansion.”

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to capture the movements in the market and to build on the operations we have here presently,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor

Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556