$65M nuclear medicine company picks Gary

2012-07-20T12:13:00Z 2012-07-21T12:41:12Z $65M nuclear medicine company picks GaryBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

A Fishers, Ind.-based company plans to make radioactive medical imaging isotopes at a new $65 million cyclotron and manufacturing facility to be built in Gary.

The facility will employ up to 50 people within five years, with a number of those highly skilled scientific positions, as well as jobs in manufacturing, security, shipping and receiving, according to the company.

The new facility will be located west of Interstate 65 along 15th Avenue, said Eric Reaves, the city's assistant director of economic development. Construction will create between 100 and 150 jobs.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the cyclotron facility fits nicely into the city's "meds and eds" economic development strategy, which seeks to build on an already established education and medical network in the city.

"We think it's a great project," she said. "It's a significant investment which will bring jobs to our community."

Positron CEO Patrick Rooney in a prepared release stated: “Securing, stabilizing and growth of the supply chain should have a considerable impact on the industry; we have built a solid foundation in our core cardiac imaging products and we continue to vertically expand into medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, allowing us to offer an end-to-end solution for cardiac PET imaging."

Positron Corp. said the 70-million-electron-volt cyclotron will be the highest energy commercial cyclotron in the U.S. A cyclotron is a molecular particle accelerator that can be used to produce isotopes that can help physicians spot medical anomalies in the human body.

Positron plans to raise a total of $65 million for the overall project through a combination of debt, equity and incentives.

Yearly wages will range from $40,000 to $100,000 for most jobs and as high as $150,000 for highly skilled scientific jobs, Reaves said.

The Gary Redevelopment Commission has approved a resolution for $15 million in tax increment financing bonds for the Positron facility. That action still must pass muster with the City Council.

In addition, the city of Gary will assist the company in obtaining New Market Tax Credits, a type of tax credit for companies locating in distressed areas, that could be worth up to $15 million more, according to Positron Corp.

Gary could realize added benefit from research and development companies, government agencies and others locating in the city to be near the cyclotron, the company said.

"This is a paradigm shift for Gary," Reaves said. "It's not a steel company. It's not a trucking company. It's a nuclear medicine company. It's the first time Gary will have a company of this nature."

Positron Corp. already has a facility in Crown Point that has been developing a process for producing indium oxide, a radiopharmaceutical used for diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures.

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