June 6, 2014
A North Augusta business is planning for an expansion and 20 new jobs.
AmbioPharm Inc. announced last Tuesday afternoon that it will invest $5 million to double its manufacturing operations. Six of the positions have already been filled, with those individuals starting this week, and the others will be filled by September. That is when the company expects for the expansion to be completed, according to Dr. Robert Geiger, vice president of quality and one of the company’s four founders.
“We are a contract manufacturer here, so we take on contracts from the pharmaceutical world to make active ingredients for peptide products,” he said. “It’s a highly specialized field, requires a lot of manual labor and this facility focuses on the downstream processing to be able to take the product, purify it and allow it to be further processed into the actual drug.”
The investment includes a 400-liter lyophilizer, three additional purification suites, additions to the quality control lab and warehouse space. The square footage of the building will go from 10,000 to 18,000. A second expansion is planned in 2015 with 10 to 15 extra employees and new equipment.
“We start the process at our Shanghai, China, facility and further purify it here,” Geiger said. “We further purify it here. When we receive it, it’s in a solid material, then it goes through the purification equipment here. That’s to clean the drug and make it a highly purified product. After the liquid is purified, it is moved to the lyophilizer and freeze-dried into a powder. Then we ship product as a powder to be further manufactured into a drug.”
Geiger said products can range from drugs for cancer, diabetes, heart problems, digestion issues and more.
Job postings for the positions are already on Indeed.com and Monster.com. Some jobs are highly specialized and require chemistry backgrounds, while others include manual labor.