BioMérieux buys additional 40 acres

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 06:08 PM

The land would be in addition to approximately 100 acres the company already owns in the Treyburn Corporate Park, where it makes BacT/ALERT blood culture bottles used by health care providers to detect microorganisms in the blood.

The site has been the company’s North American headquarters since 2001, when bioMérieux bought the diagnostics unit of Organon-Teknika.

Last year, bioMerieux announced it planned to invest $48.3 million in a 25,500-square-foot addition to the plant, creating 44 additional jobs. The site already employed more than 600 people.

To help finance the expansion, bioMérieux won commitments of $400,000 in performance-based incentives from the Durham County Board of Commissioners and up to $220,000 from the state.

However, Ted Conner, vice president for economic development and community sustainability for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, said the purchase of the additional land is not directly related to that incentive project.

“The incentive that was offered to bioMérieux last year was purely for their manufacturing expansion,” Conner said. “But what we often see is, once companies feel like the community is willing to be a partner with them, and they understand the resources available to them, many times they’ll move forward with other investments and expansions as well.”

Conner said the company has unmet space needs on their campus right now, but it’s “a little premature to really talk about it, or speculate what it is.”

Attempts to reach company officials for comment were unsuccessful Monday.

According to the company’s annual report from 2012, a severe winter flu epidemic in many countries, and particularly in the United States, contributed to a surge in demand for the company’s BacT/ALERT blood culture bottles, but manufacturing levels were impacted by the addition of a new production line in Durham.

Production was not keeping up with customer orders, but a return to “satisfactory” supply levels was expected to take place in the second half of 2013.

In the third quarter of last year, the company’s sales totaled $533 million, based on today’s exchange rates. Sales were up 7.4 percent year-over-year.

The company also agreed in the quarter to acquire a private company, BioFire Diagnostics Inc., which sells a solution for diagnosing infectious diseases.