UniTao Pharmaceuticals purchases Boehringer Ingelheim plant in Petersburg
UniTao Pharmaceuticals LLC, a China-based subsidiary, has purchased the Boehringer Ingelheim plant in the Petersburg and will invest $22.5 million to establish operations.
The company, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Tenry Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients for common over-the-counter medications. In announcing the purchase Thursday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the project is a result of his recent meeting with company officials in Shanghai during an Asian marketing mission trip.
“This project will have a tremendous impact in the city of Petersburg and the surrounding region,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “I had the great privilege of meeting with company officials during my Asia marketing mission last week in Shanghai, China, to officially close this significant win. UniTao’s new manufacturing operation in the commonwealth is another milestone in building a new Virginia economy and builds on Virginia’s longstanding and growing relationship with China.”
According to the governor’s office, Virginia competed against California and China for the project, which will create 376 new jobs over three years.
Christian Munson, a spokesman for UniTao Pharmaceuticals, said in an interview with Virginia Business, that his company is beginning to take ownership of the Petersburg facility. Boehringer Ingelheim announced the closing of its Petersburg plant in August last year, a move affecting 240 employees by the end of this year. Those employees will be given an opportunity to apply for the new jobs, Munson said. “We will be looking for manufacturing pharmaceutical expertise, so we will be looking to that talent pool,” he said. “However, there won't be 240 hires tomorrow.”
“We are figuring out what we are going to be doing at this plant still. Manufacturing will begin in a year or two. Some time is needed to move product lines over and to figure out what lines will be manufactured here,” Munson said. In the meantime, the plant will remain operational as UniTao gets its business up and running. By the end of three years, Munson said the company expects to have 376 employees on board.
McAuliffe approved a $1 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Petersburg with the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
The company also will be eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit and sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.
UniTao was seeking an existing manufacturing facility in the U.S. to expand its global market share. The Petersburg operation will allow UniTao a quick startup to production.
“It is a great testament to our ongoing efforts and Virginia’s incredible assets that Tenry will establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the city of Petersburg. An investment of this magnitude and new job opportunities in an economically distressed community is cause for celebration” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade.
Tenry, founded in 2005, is a Chinese firm engaged in research and development, manufacturing, and sales of pharmaceutical drugs, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), dietary supplements, and food additives.
The company currently has 500 employees and five subsidiary operations: UniTao Pharmaceuticals LLC; Shanghai Tenry Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.; Shanghai Qingping Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.; Hainan Tenry Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.; and Shanghai Tenry Bio-Medical Technology Co., Ltd.
“Our expansion to Virginia underscores our commitment to meeting the demands of our global customers as efficiently as possible,” Tao Ye, CEO of UniTao Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. “The former Boehringer Ingelheim facility, the region’s accessibility and its skilled workforce will enable us to start operations quickly and better meet marketplace demands in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
Boehringer Ingelheim's 190-acre campus is located at 2820 N. Normandy Drive, about 25 miles south of Richmond.