WBC doesn’t recommend money for biomedical company

CHEYENNE — The $3 million loan and $3 million grant designed to help a biomedical company expand its operation in Cheyenne failed to get a recommendation Thursday from the Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors.

Innovive, which is registered locally as WYTEC, hopes to create an additional 48 jobs initially in southeast Wyoming in an industry that wasn't previously present here.

The loan and grant failed because no one sponsored a motion on it at Thursday's board meeting in Greybull. However, the Business Council board can only make recommendations, and the State Loan and Investment Board has the final say on whether the business will get the loan and grant at its April meeting.

Staff members from the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS, the economic development corporation for Cheyenne and Laramie County, were traveling and could not be reached for comment by press time.

The company is based out of California and specializes in disposable caging products for laboratory rodents used in medical research. Those cages, once used, are sent back to Innovive, which then sterilizes the parts and reuses them for new cages.

The company asked the Wyoming Business Council for a total of $6 million in loans and grants to build its permanent facility in Cheyenne. WYTEC is currently operating out of a facility in the Aviation Professional Building in Cheyenne, and Wyoming is currently competing with other states, such as Texas, to get the sterilization plant in the state.

Innovive CEO Dee Conger previously told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that shipping the products back and forth to be sterilized at their current facility out of state, reassembled here, and then sent back out to customers is a timely and expensive process.

Creating a new facility in Cheyenne where sterilization and reassembly could happen at one location would be a major benefit to the company's bottom line, he said.

The starting wage for the manufacturing positions would start at about $16 per hour and then be raised to $22 per hour by the end of the second year of the business' operation. The plant would be about 57,000 square feet, and WYTEC would lease the facility from Cheyenne LEADS on a 20-year term with the possibility to purchase it after five years, Noelle Reed said.

The first phase of this project would be the construction period, and the second phase would be the medical sterilization process, which would add another 13 jobs. The medical sterilization also has the potential to bring more companies to Wyoming that would utilize this service.

If approved, the project would have a revenue recapture for the company of $500,000, and a total of $4,169,000 would be returning back to the Business Council including recapture and loans.

Board member Jason Kintzler said he struggled to see how this is advanced manufacturing, and that the professional employees with the company are located outside of Wyoming, with only low-paying jobs being located in the state.

Susan Coll, vice president of corporate development and co-owner of Innovive, said this type of manufacturing is advanced, in her opinion, because it focuses on automation and other advanced technologies.

The State Loan and Investment Board, which is comprised of the state's top five elected officials, including Gov. Mark Gordon, will consider the request at its April 9 meeting.