JUPITER — Town officials and bioscience leaders celebrated a coup on Wednesday with the announcement that New York-based Beacon Pharmaceutical plans to construct a life science incubator in Jupiter.
The estimated $44.2-million, 150,000-square-foot incubator could provide capital and space for up to 50 companies to research, develop and manufacture drugs on a small scale, as well as partner with local hospitals for clinical trials, said executive chairwoman Nancy Torres Kaufman.
The Palm Beach Post first reported on the project last month.
Thirty-eight companies around the world have expressed interest in the space, Kaufman added. She emphasized the importance of including a global platform in order to “cross pollinate” ideas in the name of furthering science.
“We’re focusing on Florida companies, of course, because we want to provide for the immediate ecosystem, but we’re being very persistent about bringing companies from all over the world to participate in the Jupiter ecosystem and share with the outside world what’s here,” Kaufman said.
Beacon Pharmaceutical CEO Philippe Gastone said companies would be selected based on their intellectual property. He said he envisioned Beacon Pharmaceutical would partner with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County to continue to attract these companies to the incubator.
Beacon Pharmaceutical started in 2017, Gastone said, but its family office Beacon Capital has been making investments for 10 years. Kaufman noted that research and development companies often need more than just capital to succeed.
“We realized that these companies needed kind of like a big brother to help them achieve their goals,” Kaufman said.
The Business Development Board began talks about the proposal with the town in September.
This did not happen overnight,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. “This has been 15 years in the making.”
Smallridge noted that Palm Beach County is home to 700 life science companies and 7,400 people are locally employed in the field, excluding hospitals. Aside from Scripps Florida and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, the town has used an economic development fund to successfully attract 15 bioscience companies to Jupiter.
“For early stage life science companies to grow, they need access to talent, capital and affordable lab space,” she said.
Beacon Pharmaceutical said its estimated complex would add at least 137 jobs with annual salaries of more than $70,000.
The town council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday evening that outlined economic incentives should Beacon Pharmaceutical successfully build its complex and create jobs. A nine-acre, town-owned parcel on the northwest corner of Indiantown Road and Florida’s Turnpike will be offered in a 30-year lease-to-own agreement. Also, the town will provide a $500,000 loan guarantee and pay Beacon Pharmaceutical for each job created, but not more than $600,000 over a 10-year period.
George Gentile, of Gentile Glas Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates, said the development plans for the complex would likely go before the town council in May or June.
Mayor Todd Wodraska called it a “game-changer of a day.”
“This makes Jupiter the envy of any community and any municipality that thought they could be in the running for this type of thing,” he said.
Palm Beach Post