PETERSBURG, Va. – Pharmaceutical companies are changing the landscape in Petersburg, Va. In fact, officials estimate that three of the pharmaceutical companies will create more than 600 jobs in the region by 2024.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said location was a key reason Civica Rx decided to build in the historic city.
“We can drive anywhere on the East Coast in less than a day,” said Civica CEO Martin Van Trieste.
The investment from Civica and the other two pharmaceutical factories means big business for the city.
“This is the biggest economic development activity we’ve had in Petersburg in over 40 years,” Mayor Sam Parham said.
Van Trieste said Civica will be able to reduce the cost of manufacturing drugs through innovation.
“Civica has a vision, that if they can capture vision, they can cut costs by 90%, and so it will be good for patients,” Kaine said.
“We are committed to reducing costs and we are committed to making things in the United States,” said Stan Benson, Civica’s vice president for field operations. “And we are committed to providing drugs that are on the Lister drug shortage.”
This is the first manufacturing facility for Civica, a non-profit organization that currently offers 60 different drugs. It will be located adjacent to the AMPAC Fine Chemicals plant on N. Normandy Drive.
Kaine said the plant won’t just benefit Petersburg and central Virginia.
“It’s really important to the local economy, but the products that are created here and the manufacturing processes that are pioneered in central Virginia are going to end up lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals around the world,” Kaine said.
The company hopes their success will curtail Chinese-made drugs.
“I think most of us feel better about quality when it’s done here at home,” Kaine said. “But we definitely feel better about safety.”
The success of the three pharmaceutical laboratories in Petersburg is linked to the development of a unique workforce. John Tyler Community College, Richard Bland College, Virginia State University and Virginia Commonwealth University have partnered to make it happen.
Civica, although still under construction, is already expanding. By 2024, the company plans to manufacture three generic forms of insulin that company officials say will cost 90% less than the drug’s list price.
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