Delaware’s booming life sciences sector continues to expand with plans by Analytical Biological Services Inc. (ABS) to double its workforce over the next three years.
The internationally recognized bioscience services company is retrofitting 30,000 square feet of space in New Castle for its new office headquarters and lab space. The expansion, supported by two grants from the Delaware Strategic Fund, will allow the company to meet significant projected growth and add 36 new high-paying, full-time, skilled trade and professional-level positions – more than doubling its current workforce – to the state’s economy.
Since 1990, ABS has provided cell culture services, gene editing, human biospecimens, cell and tissue preparations and analyses, and samples storage. ABS provides these research services to nearly every major pharmaceutical and biotechnology company in the world that is involved in early-stage drug discovery or diagnostics research.
“We are proud to have a number of startup science and tech companies here in Delaware,” said Governor John Carney. “When we realized we had a shortage of lab space for them to use as they grow their business, we made sure there was funding available for what we call Lab Space Grants. The life science industry is essential to both public health and Delaware’s economic future. We are pleased that Lab Space Grants are making a difference for companies like ABS, because we want companies that start here to stay and grow here.”
ABS leadership presented to the Council on Development Finance (CDF) today, requesting a Performance Grant of $262,260 and $1 million from Delaware’s relatively new Lab Space Grant incentive program.
The Performance Grant, to be drawn over the next three years, is for the creation of 36 new full-time high-quality Delaware jobs ranging from skilled trade to professional level. Qualified Delaware residents will have first opportunity for employment with ABS in the newly grant-supported created positions.
ABS will lease 30,000 square feet of a 48,000-square-foot office building in New Castle that will be purchased by ABS BioAccelerator LLC, a separate but related entity. The company will renovate 10,000 square feet for offices, and the Lab Space Grant will help ABS invest $3.7 million to renovate 20,000 of those square feet (at roughly $188.13 per square foot) for lab space. The grant requires ABS to remain in Delaware for five years.
“Congratulations to Analytical Biological Services Inc. on their continued investment in our state and our county,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We are thankful for ABS as they grow their company and expand Delaware's reputation as the place to find talent in the life sciences arena. I wish ABS continued luck and growth into the future.”
The company, which employs 33 full-time workers at its current location in Wilmington’s Cornell Business Park, has achieved considerable growth in recent years. That growth has been driven by investment in a larger and more highly trained business development team, along with continuous improvement of processes and business systems. Their ability to increase revenues has resulted in what will now be further investment in more staff and equipment — all to remain right here in Delaware.
In 2019, ABS engaged the services of Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) — Delaware’s nonprofit public-private economic development organization facilitating the important conversations that drive growth, increase investment and support the talent needs of statewide employers — to help identify suitable R&D and lab space to accommodate their expanding needs.
Charles Saller, Ph.D., sole owner, president and CEO of ABS, said: “Our roots are in Delaware. ABS was founded in Delaware. We work with Delaware organizations such as Incyte and the Gene-Editing Institute of ChristianaCare to foster drug discovery research. New laboratories and headquarters are major investments, and the Strategic Fund Grants are essential in enabling us to continue to grow in Delaware. We are grateful to DDP and the State of Delaware for making this possible.”
In all, ABS will invest $4.2 million in the renovation project. The remaining 18,000 square feet of space in the new building may be reserved for potential ABS company growth. ABS and ABS Bio Accelerator LLC also may consider leasing space to other early-stage bioscience companies, which could be strategic partners as ABS continues to grow.