Summit Biosciences Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on nasal spray medicines, is expanding its operation at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus with a more than $19 million investment. The project is expected to create up to 78 full-time jobs.
According to state officials, the project has grown significantly since it originally was announced in 2016 as a $7.9 million project that would create 21 jobs.
The expansion, which is nearing completion, brings the company’s footprint to 44,000 square feet with increased manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse space. The additional space will support clinical and commercial production of several new nasal spray medicines, including one for COVID-19.
"We are excited and honored to have been entrusted by Atossa Therapeutics to aid in the development of a product that could potentially be used in the global fight against the coronavirus," said Greg Plucinski, president and COO of Summit. "Our dedicated, high-performing team has taken this immense responsibility and worked extremely hard to deliver products for the start of human clinical studies in record time."
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in July gave final approval to a modified 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.5 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $19 million and annual targets of creation and maintenance of 78 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years. By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments. In addition, Summit can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.
"We need companies like Summit Biosciences more than ever, and I could not be happier to see its tremendous growth in Lexington," Governor Andy Beshear said. "This company has represented what it means to be part of Team Kentucky during this pandemic, donating personal protective equipment to the local community and working on an urgently needed treatment for coronavirus. Summit Biosciences is a company with a bright future in Kentucky."
In May, Atossa Therapeutics Inc., a Seattle-based pharmaceutical company, awarded Summit a contract to accelerate the development of a nasal spray medicine for preventing and/or mitigating a COVID-19 infection. The proposed product is being developed as an at-home, easy-to-administer preventative or treatment option for patients and is among a very limited number of medicines or vaccines that will rely on intranasal delivery. Atossa selected Summit for its specialized capabilities, industrial-scale infrastructure and proven track record in nasal spray medicines.
Bob Quick, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc., said the company has been an ideal community partner. "The Commerce Lexington Inc. Economic Development team was honored to work with Summit Biosciences in 2009 when they started a specialized pharmaceutical company, and it's exciting to see the company expand its footprint multiple times right here in Central Kentucky," Quick said. "Summit Biosciences has not only been dedicated to creating well-paying jobs for many of our residents, but has also been committed to advancing the greater good in our community by donating PPE items earlier this year to organizations in need and implementing innovative strategies to address the current pandemic. We are very proud that Summit Biosciences calls Lexington home, and we look forward to many more announcements like this in the future," he said.
Summit was founded in Lexington in 2009 by Edwin Cohen. The company develops and manufactures prescription nasal sprays for other pharmaceutical companies to commercialize and distribute throughout the U.S. and Europe. Having grown steadily since its inception, Summit’s expansion has ramped up in recent years. Since December 2016, its staff has grown from 45 to 125 employees.