A Franklin life sciences company plans to begin working in its remodeled downtown building as soon as this summer.
This year, B2S Life Sciences also wants to begin hiring scientists, project managers, statisticians and business development and management leaders, with plans to hire 23 new employees in the next two years, according to a news release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
The drug development company has invested more than $1.5 million into its historic building at 97 E. Monroe St., including new windows, doors and a storefront, roof repairs and creating offices, a lobby, conference rooms and lab space. Work has been going on for more than a year, and officials plan to move into the main space by this summer, the release said.
B2S first opened in July 2016 and is operating out of about 3,000 square feet of renovated space connected to the main building while construction is ongoing.
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The building is out of space, and the company has had to rearrange in the past year in order to make room for more employees. The last open desk is being filled on the 19th, chief executive officer Aleks Davis said.
“We are packed like sardines right now,” he said.
When the renovated building opens, that will add another 9,000 square feet of laboratory space.
B2S develops pharmaceutical and diagnostic biological reagents, which are used to test for chemical reactions, for clients around the world such as research organizations, pharmaceutical companies and biotech businesses and startups. The company also wants to grow to meet export demands and expand services in biotherapeutic drug development and work with biotech startup companies in its lab space.
But officials are also looking at other fields they can grow into, including drug manufacturing, food safety and agriculture, Davis said.
The company currently has 16 employees and has continued to grow. Officials had been planning to employ about 40 people and are now working to fill those positions that pay higher than the county’s average wage, the release said. B2S has also partnered with Franklin College to give students experience with internships.
“Recruiting and hiring local talent in the area is a priority for us,” Ron Bowsher, chief scientific officer at B2S, said in the release. “From the onset, we have worked together to enhance the local area where we live and work. This priority is reinforced by the fact that many of our lab staff reside in the southern portion of Marion County or Johnson County and by our close partnership with Franklin College. We look forward to continuing to grow the life sciences and biotech presence in central Indiana.”
Local officials have touted B2S as the type of business they want to bring to Franklin and Johnson County, with higher paying jobs and a focus on biotechnology.
“Franklin is pleased to have B2S in our dynamic downtown. We look forward to seeing them expand and bring more economic diversity to our city,” Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said in the release.
B2S received incentives from the state and the city.
The company’s incentive package from the city in 2015 included $250,000 in tax-increment financing dollars from the Franklin Redevelopment Commission to help renovate the then-vacant Jarve-Alexander building, buying the building from the city-funded Franklin Development Corp. for $75,000 and a $50,000 grant for façade work and the $200,000 loan from the organization.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered B2S up to $250,000 in tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.
“This project gives B2S the opportunity to invest in highly skilled talent and jobs quicker than we would be able to achieve otherwise. Together, the state of Indiana, IEDC and city of Franklin have created an environment where small businesses can grow and prosper, allowing for quality of life improvements and business diversification in the region,” Davis said in the release.