Area Development
California-based Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a pest management firm serving water treatment and agricultural markets, plans to develop a 11,400-square-foot manufacturing facility on 11-acres in Bangor, Michigan, where it expects to create 50 jobs in the southwestern area of the Great Lakes State, northeast of Benton Harbor.

MBI officials said its new facility will provide the necessary capacity to advance its growing pipeline of natural pest management products, or biopesticides, for the agriculture and water treatment markets.

"This marks a significant milestone for MBI," said CEO Pam Marrone. "Having our own manufacturing facility will be a tremendous asset to us, both in terms of cost effectiveness and quality assurance for our existing products and as we seek to rapidly advance our pipeline of new products from development to commercialization."

The site is former a biodiesel production facility, which was most recently used for production of glycerin. MBI will begin retrofitting and repurposing the site for fermentation this month, and intends to initiate manufacturing in early 2013. In addition to the manufacturing plant, the site includes offices and a laboratory. The facility will initially employ up to 30 people, but MBI intends to increase employment to 50 workers over the next few years.

MBI anticipates manufacturing Grandevo, a broad-spectrum bioinsecticide for controlling insects and mites, as well as Zequanox, the industry's first naturally derived product for controlling invasive zebra and quagga mussels at the new facility.

In addition to Grandevo and Zequanox, MBI has several early stage products that if developed will ultimately be manufactured in Bangor. Those include an EPA-approved bioherbicide and an additional insecticide, currently undergoing EPA review. Additionally, the company has several nematicide, herbicide, fungicide, algaecide and plant health product candidates under development that could be produced at the site.

Financial details about the firm's investment were not disclosed; however, MBI noted its executive team has extensive experience acquiring, developing and operating fermentation facilities.

While information on incentives offered the firm was not immediately available, Don Glidewell, MBI chief financial officer said. "With this acquisition we lay the cornerstone of our manufacturing strategy. We anticipate that operating our own site will provide MBI additional capacity and flexibility to efficiently manufacture new products. At the same time, MBI will maintain certain strategic contract manufacturing partnerships, which we expect will mitigate the risk of single source of production."