During the last year, the life sciences industry has taken root in Fishers.
Several companies, many based internationally, have announced moves or expansions to Fishers, while others already in the community plan to continue growing in the city.
The latest to announce an expansion in Fishers is Telix, an Australian-based biopharmaceutical company that develops diagnostic and therapeutic products using molecularly targeted radiation. The company is doubling its workforce at 12 Municipal Dr.
Telix joins Quantigen Biosciences in expanding operations in Fishers, while companies like Italy-based Stevanato Group, INCOG BioPharma Inc. and Genezen have announced plans within the past year to establish their first headquarters in Fishers. INCOG and Genezen are startups.
Fishers has seen increased interest from life science companies, which generally create and manufacture high-tech tools and supplies for the health care industry, since announcing in June it would create a life science district on 75 acres on the southwest corner of 126th Street and Cumberland Road. The Stevanato Group, which makes EZ-Fill syringes, vials and pre-sterilized glass containers, was the first company to announce a move there.
“The amount of new companies and new leads that have come our way over the last two or three weeks after the (June 16) announcement of Stevanato (has increased). And really, in particular, having this land available now, hopefully it will result in some exciting new companies to announce in the next few months,” said Megan Baumgartner, Fishers director of economic and community development.
The increase of life science companies has already brought the promise of hundreds of new high-wage medical tech jobs coming to Fishers by 2025, and more are expected to be added as additional companies commit to the life sciences medical park.
The reasons why Fishers has seen an increase in life science vary, but there appears to be one common thread.
“When you are looking at these growth companies, whether they are (life science), pharma or software or (internet of things) technology, the one thing that all of them have in common is that culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and with a similar culture radiating throughout Fishers, it makes us a very hospitable place for those types of companies,” said John Wechsler, founder of Launch Fishers.
Most of the businesses that have moved to or expanded in Fishers have received tax breaks from either the City of Fishers or the Indiana Economic Development Corp., or both. The city and the IEDC worked together to follow up on leads, with the IEDC alerting Fishers about prospective businesses that might relocate to Fishers, while Fishers kept existing businesses up to date on new funds or grants that might be available from the IEDC if they are interested in expansion.
The tax breaks that Fishers offers come with contingencies, such as hiring requirements that each business must meet by a mutually agreed upon deadline.
“We like to come in as that final gap closing to secure a project,” Baumgartner said. “We like to learn a bit more about what’s important to (a particular) company. Are they cash flush and want to look at more offsetting, ongoing annual expenses? Or is this a brand new first-in–the–country operation for them and being able to have some assistance with up-front funding?
“Then, based off of their investment, the number of jobs that they are committing to, the wages of those new jobs, the industries, the location that they are looking at, all of those things are taken into consideration for us to create an incentive package that hopefully fills that gap for them to make the decision to come to Fishers.”
But according to Wechsler, the incentive packages are not the most important factor for national and international companies when deciding to expand or relocate in Fishers.
“Incentives are one part of every major business expansion discussion, but it’s secondary to the value of the community itself,” Wechler said. “They know that they have access to talent, because they need to continue to hire people to grow. They have a community that is a great example of what it means to live, work and play in the community that your business is based. It’s very attractive when you’re looking to hire someone locally or relocate someone from another place.
“When they come to Fishers and see our amenities and what’s available, it really puts that company in a favorable light.”
The entire community was appealing to Telix officials who decided to locate its U.S. headquarters to Fishers in 2020 and then announced an expansion last month.
“The proximity of big pharma companies like Eli Lily or Roche make it a great environment for a biotech like Telix,” said Bernard Lambert, Telix’s president in the U.S. “The Fishers area is an affordable place, and living is great here, so there was no reason to go to a higher-end place like New York or the West Coast. Also, we had access to the high-skilled and educated person. We have people who come from schools like Purdue or IU that have the skills we are looking at.”
Fishers’ proximity to Indianapolis keeps Telix close to companies with which it collaborates, and the FedEx hub at the Indianapolis International Airport is a benefit. The company deals with radiopharmaceuticals with a half-lives that require efficient logistics.
Incentives to hire
When it comes to a company like Telix that had room to add employees inside its existing building, Fishers doesn’t get involved in incentivizing the hiring process.
“In Telix’s case, the state is the entity that is set up to incentivize job growth through their tax credits and their incentive program,” said Megan Baumgartner, Fishers director of economic and community development. “That one was almost entirely incentivized by the IDEC.”
What follows are examples of incentives for businesses that have relocated or expanded in Fishers:
- INCOG BioPharma: $2.5 million in conditional tax credits and a grant of $200,000 to support on-site infrastructure by the IDEC; and 100 percent personal property tax abatement for 13 years and 100 percent real property tax abatement for two years, from Fishers.
- Stevanato: $2.9 million in conditional tax credits and $500,000 in conditional training grants from the IDEC; Fishers offered up to $1.2 million in conditional tax credits.
- Quantigen: $350,000 in conditional tax credits by the IDEC; and a $50,000 grant toward start-up costs from Fishers.
Genezen: was self-funded and then received a growth-equity investment from Massachusetts based-Ampersand Capital Partners. The amount was unreported, but Ampersand invests between $10 and $100 million typically in startups.