Insys Therapeutics, a Chicago-based biotechnology firm that specializes in rapid development and commercialization of drugs, said Tuesday it plans to move its corporate headquarters and research facilities to the Valley, creating 30 jobs within three to four years.
But the exact location in the Valley has not been determined and will depend on the company finding “wet lab” space to conduct its research, economic development officials said.
Because Insys, founded in 2002, is still in the startup stage, public funds may be needed to build research space for the company, said Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Partnership, a private/public economic development group.
He said officials in Chandler and Surprise have expressed interest in developing lab space that could host the company, and a private developer also is planning biotech space in Tempe. “But private developers are usually more interested in companies that are publicly traded,” Broome said. “A company like this could take five to seven years to emerge. It’s going to need some type of philanthropic support — either public investment or a foundation.
“The nice thing is, if a community puts the infrastructure in, it will be one of the few communities that will be able to host these types of companies.”
Chandler officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
A biotech research center costing about $10 million to $12 million would be able to host Insys and several other startup companies, Broome said.
The hope is that one or all of them eventually would become commercially successful, creating hundreds of jobs for the community, he said.
Such facilities are called biotech accelerators because they are intended to help “accelerate” the development of the businesses.
Temporary space might be found initially for Insys at the Mayo Clinic or
other health care facility until a biotech accelerator is completed in 12 to 18 months, Broome said.
Insys — which already has scientific relationships with Mayo, the BioDesign Institute at Arizona State University and the Translational Genomics Research Institute — is focusing on rapid drug development by improving the clinical outcomes of currently marketed drugs.
The company uses existing approved chemical entities to expedite clinical trials and subsequent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The primary investor in Insys is EJ Financial Enterprises, a firm that provides financing and advice to early stage health care ventures.
“Many of the premier industry leaders are in the (Valley), and it was logical to bring Insys here to take advantage of the numerous resources,” said Dr. John Kapoor, president of EJ Financial Enterprises. “Bringing jobs to the area will be our way of giving back.”
Officials say the problem of finding lab space for Insys reflects the shortage of local infrastructure for biotechnology — a sector that is being promoted in an attempt to diversify the state’s economy. “This (shortage of lab space) is nothing new,” said Jon McGarity, director of the Arizona Bioindustry Association.
“The good news is people are looking at this and are doing something about it.”