Bloomington biotech firm embraces rapid expansion, prepares for more | National

Up until last summer, AB BioTechnologies CEO and founder Jeff Schwegman had only bought one piece of new equipment in his companys seven-year history. Now, hes built a new 24,000-square-foot facility full of millions of dollars in equipment near the current 2,000 square feet of office space rented by the company.

Since breaking ground last May, Schwegman has steadily increased the budget for the companys new headquarters. After he found himself sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night to worry over everything from drawer handles to FDA-approved clean rooms, the original $10.5 million investment for the project has grown closer to $12 million. Its an expansion that has drawn the attention of larger contract manufacturing organizations with its nimble approach to the development, manufacturing, testing, inspection, packaging and shipping of drug products.

I think were still living lean, Schwegman said. But it has just been my nature to step out of my comfort zone. It was always in the back of my mind to do what were doing here.

Schwegman said he hasnt had to go looking for investors, and what loans hes received include Small Business Administration guarantees. The company is considering making more shares available to support expanded utility and machine costs. Its no wonder, since the company has its eyes on $4 million worth of additional equipment beyond the 2,000-gallon water tank and robotic filling machine it has already purchased.

It was easy to sell clients on the ide....

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