By Dominick Tao
LARGO — Tampa-based pharmaceutical development company CoreRx plans to expand its 19-member workforce by at least 55 and move into a new headquarters in Largo.
The company, which formulates combination drugs for large clients and offers other related services, recently qualified for tax refunds from Florida's Qualified Target Industry program, which rewards businesses that employ high-skill, high-wage workers.
After it was unable to find a cost-effective facility in Tampa, the company met with Pinellas County's Department of Economic Development and Largo officials in February 2009. They steered CoreRx toward Largo and an available facility previously used in the product development field.
As the company's services suggest, many of the jobs will be related to research and pharmaceutical positions, said Todd Daviau, its president and CEO.
"The majority will be in chemistry, analyst work, formula development," he said.
Under the state's QTI program, each job created is eligible for $3,000 in tax refunds. The company also will use loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and Florida's Economic Gardening Business Loan program. The Economic Gardening program can provide up to $250,000.
Daviau said his company's clients include some recognizable names, but he can't reveal them because of confidentiality agreements in place for competitive reasons.
He said the private company brought in $4 million last year.
Theresa Brydon, Largo's economic development manager, said companies looking to expand appear to be starting to do so now because of improving conditions for financing.
"With SBA loans being what they are, they have removed some of the barriers," Brydon said. "Now you don't have to pay their fee to process loans. It's really a great time if you have the credit history and cash flow."
Brydon said she expects the new occupants to move in by mid 2011.
The previous occupant of the facility, Formulated Solutions, recently moved into another Largo building vacated by British medical device manufacturer Smith & Nephew. Smith & Nephew cut 160 jobs in 2009 after it decided to move the facility's operations to China.
Daviau said, for his company, such a move wouldn't be wise — its pharmaceutical products come under close scrutiny of the FDA, and being local helps in the approval process.
"If you want to get a drug approved in the U.S., it just makes sense to have a company in the U.S.," Daviau said. "I just don't think they measure up overseas in terms of quality."
Dominick Tao can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 580-2951.