A new pharmaceutical manufacturer plans to begin operations in its first U.S. facility in Caldwell County in 2020. The company, BioNutra, Inc., closed on the purchase of the former Hammary/Kincaid furniture factory on Norwood Street in Lenoir on September 30, 2019. The 150,000 square foot facility located on nearly 12 acres has been vacant for more than eight years, with the exception of a brief period when it was used as warehouse space for furniture sales.
BioNutra will manufacture probiotics, medicinal foods and dietary supplements. Their products will come from a wide range of formulations like tablets, gelatin capsules, gummies, liquids and ointments. The company plans to hire 35-45 people a year as it grows, reaching approximately 200 by year four or five. The company’s initial investment will be approximately $8 Million.
Founder Dr. Murali Tummuru came to the U.S. looking for an American manufacturing site in early summer 2019. Tummuru considered sites in Baltimore, Dallas, Charlotte and several in the Unifour area but selected the Lenoir site for several compelling reasons. Most important to Dr. Tummuru was that his new company deliver immediate and positive impact from its investment and new jobs. Tummuru liked Caldwell for that reason—he has watched over the years the dramatic positive impact of Exela and other similar companies on the local economy.
Tummuru also wanted a great real estate value. He purchased a long abandoned property more known for what it lacked than what it offered. With the assistance of the Caldwell EDC, BioNutra applied for a Building Reuse grant through the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Infrastructure Authority. The company was awarded a $500,000 Building Reuse grant on October 17 to help with the renovation of the former furniture factory.
Tummuru said he was humbled and honored to receive the Building Reuse grant. “We will work hard and see that BioNutra will be a success and make a difference.” Dr. Rajesh R. Tummuru will be the company’s CEO. Chris Money, local Lenoir businessman, will handle the day to day operations of the project as it develops.
EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray was very excited about the addition of a fourth pharmaceutical manufacturer in Caldwell County. “Caldwell is growing a biotech cluster that will offer higher wages and dramatically different career options. This latest addition gives us the opportunity to expand our training programs and develop a hefty pipeline of talent for these 21st century careers.” She added that BioNutra’s investment will continue the transformation of the local economy with the revitalization of yet one more old factory to a productive modern day facility.
Parent company, Virchow Biotech Pvt. Ltd, is located in Hyderabad, India and has been in operation for eighteen years. The company exports to more than 40 countries and has over 1300 employees.
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