Cody Labs tells Mead it's ready to pursue state loan for lab expansion

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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Owners of a Cody laboratory that makes painkillers have informed Gov. Matt Mead they're still keenly interested in seeking state funds for expansion once the state adopts rules for a newly created loan program.

Bernhard W. Opitz is an officer with Cody Laboratories, Inc., a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical company Lannett Company, Inc.

"While all formal commitments require Lannett Board of Director's approval, Cody Labs' strategic plan proposes a company investment of $102 million over the next four years," Opitz stated to Mead, adding that most of the money would be spent in Cody's heavy industrial zone.

Opitz stated that the company's board of directors last month approved spending over $13.7 million on elements of the Cody expansion.

"By initiating these projects, Cody Labs is showing good faith that Wyoming will provide the support enabled by the bill," Opitz stated. "When the rules for the program are completed, Cody Labs will submit the total project plan and cost, along with other required information to the state."

Attempts to reach Cody Labs officials for comment were not successful on Wednesday.

The Wyoming Legislature earlier this year appropriated $25 million to fund the loan program, leaving it largely up to State Treasurer Mark Gordon to develop rules for administering it.

Gordon said Wednesday he expects to submit draft rules to the Secretary of State's Office later this week. Once Mead approves them, Gordon said they will remain in effect while his office adopts final rules in coming months.

Before any loan to Cody Labs could become final, it would still need approval from top state officials. The legislation specifies that the state treasurer may require the state to get an adequate security interest in funded projects and may charge borrowers a 1-percent loan origination fee.

Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, sponsored the legislation to fund the loan program.

Coe said Wednesday the lab expansion promises to create up to 400 new jobs that pay in the neighborhood of $50,000 to start. "So it's a big deal for this community, no question about it."

Coe said he believes the loan program sets a precedent for how Wyoming can attract large economic development projects to the state.

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