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Gov. Rick Scott recently announced the relocation of IRX Therapeutics Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, to St. Petersburg from New York City by the year’s end. The company will staff more than 280 positions within five years at a projected minimum average wage of $90,000 annually.
“IRX’s choice of Florida confirms that our state has set the stage successfully for a future that’s rich in science, research and innovation,” said Governor Rick Scott. “I am pleased to support the company’s continuing growth and job creation, which puts us one step closer to creating the jobs needed to get our state back to work.”
IRX develops therapies to treat cancer and infectious diseases. The company has raised $90 million to fund preclinical research, manufacturing and clinical development of IRX-2, a cancer treatment and IRX’s chief product. Initially, IRX will employ 40 people to begin a Phase 3 trial. The additional staff will work in commercial-scale manufacturing and expanded development functions in anticipation of a potential commercial product launch.
IRX’s move actually marks its return to Florida and the Tampa Bay Region, where at the University of South Florida the company developed its technology.
“This ‘homecoming’ exemplifies the strength of Florida’s research and development capabilities and the rising stature of the state’s life sciences sector,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who heads Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization. “And I credit the effective collaboration of our academic, economic development, government and community partners for bringing this visionary project to fruition.”
To seal this business development prize for Florida, the state awarded IRX $600,000 from its Innovation Incentive Fund, which targets R&D catalyst projects. Local provisions included $275,000 from Pinellas County, a $275,000 credit toward land owned by the City of St. Petersburg in the Dome Industrial Park (for future expansion), and $50,000 from the University of South Florida. The Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Pinellas County Economic Development were also partner organizations in the economic development project.