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Lower-cost insulin manufacturer takes next steps to establish plant in Morgantown

A lower-cost insulin manufacturer has taken the next step toward establishing a location in West Virginia.

UNDBIO, a South Korean company, has secured a lease with West Virginia University to build an insulin manufacturing facility in Morgantown.

The company anticipates creating 200 jobs within the first three years while investing $100,000,000 in phase one of the project.

“The mission of UNDBIO is to develop and produce state-of-the-art insulin in West Virginia,” UNDBIO Chairman Caleb Jun said.

“Our products will save human lives and improve the quality of life for those afflicted with diabetes. We are excited to see West Virginia become a mecca for manufacturing highly advanced insulin to treat diabetic patients around the world.”

Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice celebrated the lease agreement and praised the development during a briefing at the state Capitol.

“The Morgantown area has a strong manufacturing history and I am proud that UNDBIO will join our growing list of successful, world-leading manufacturing companies who’ve chosen the Mountain State,” Justice said.

The company has plans to build the manufacturing facility in the West Virginia University Research Park. Company leaders have said the project is valued at about $100 million and is expected to employ as many as 1,200 when up and running.

The company plans to partner with West Virginia University on other research projects as well.

Tom Bloom

Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom applauded the announcement in comments to the Dominion Post newspaper.

“If you remember two years ago when everyone said, ‘Oh, Mylan is going under? That’s the end for the city of Morgantown,’ ” he said. “I said at the time that we would regroup and out of that fire we would be the phoenix rising.”

Bloom said local leaders are thrilled.

We’ve been striving to attract jobs in the medical and sciences arena and we feel very fortunate to have UNDBIO invest, right now, $100 million in our county and the city of Morgantown. We’re going to provide ongoing support for them as we do for all our businesses,” he said.

State Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael also expressed optimism that the company will be a vital employer in Monongalia County.

Mitch Carmichael

“It’s really a firming up of the commitment. West Virginia’s made some financial commitments, and UNDBIO has made substantial commitments to the Morgantown area,” state Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

He added, “It’s really a revitalization of the pharmaceutical industry in the Morgantown area, and it’s great for West Virginia — and it’s great for Morgantown in particular.”

UNDBIO has been developing a proprietary manufacturing method aimed at lowering the cost of insulin.

In phase one, the facility will work to secure Food and Drug Administration approval for the product. After securing FDA approval, UNDBIO plans to expand, resulting in additional jobs.

Carmichael acknowledged the FDA approval could still take time, but he drew confidence from the insulin’s acceptance and production in other countries.

“Ground will be broken on the building this fall, and FDA approval will not be forthcoming for probably a year and a half or two — and you can’t control the speed at which the FDA approves.

But, Carmichael added, “the nice thing that gives everyone confidence about it is that it’s already being utilized and manufactured in other countries throughout the world. So the fact that it needs American FDA approval is significant and we’ll undergo that process, but the project is moving forward.”

Joe Manchin

Senator Joe Manchin also applauded the announcement.

“Approximately 51 million people across the country live with diabetes, and this new facility will increase access to insulin for every West Virginian and American who needs it. I’m excited by UNDBIO’s decision to invest in the Mountain State and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment – including long-term, good-paying jobs and regional economic growth – for years to come.”

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