Pharma upgrade, Hempstead two-step, LI marches on

Big wheel keeps spinning: With pharmaceuticals manufacturing in their sights, regional IDAs are doling out critical tax-abatement deals.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

In the best possible sign for the Long Island innovation economy, the business of business continues, with regional industrial-development agencies stepping up to keep the Island keeping on.

The latest examples: A Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency incentives package for Hauppauge-based InvaGen Pharmaceuticals, which is scaling up on Old Willets Path, and a switcharoo of sorts facilitated by the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency, which is helping a Long Beach pharma manufacturer relocate to Uniondale.

The Suffolk IDA on Monday announced preliminary approval of a tax-abatement deal for generic-drug manufacturer InvaGen, a frequent friend of various Long Island-based R&D biopharmas that’s looking to renovate and re-equip an existing 69,654-square-foot facility.

The $2.7 million upgrade is “essential in helping the pharmaceutical manufacturer remain competitive and retain hundreds of local jobs,” noted the IDA, which knows a good bet when it sees one, according to Executive Director Tony Catapano.

Kelly Morris: Pharma growth.

“The IDA provides resources that foster growth and retain innovative companies like InvaGen in Long Island’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector,” Catapano said Monday. “We are pleased to assist InvaGen, as their retention will keep hundreds of Long Islanders employed and continue contributing to our regional economy.”

Launched in 2003 and a subsidiary of India-based global pharma Cipla Ltd. since 2016, InvaGen employees 586 across three Suffolk County facilities, according to the IDA. So large an employment roll, in an industry so critical to the national pandemic recovery, is an easy incentivization choice, according to Suffolk County IDA Executive Director Kelly Morris.

“Despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Long Island’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry continues to be poised for expansion with the right support,” Morris said in a statement. “With the impact of the virus causing so many to become unemployed in our region, our mission is to ensure the businesses in Suffolk County that employ hundreds of our residents continue to operate while positioning themselves for future job creation.”

Pharmaceuticals manufacturing is also on their minds over at the Hempstead IDA, which is bidding farewell to one employer but softening the blow with preliminary approval for an incentives package that will bring in a replacement from the City of Long Beach.

It’s not the best news for Long Beach, which is losing ChemRX Pharmacy Services and its 125 employees. But it’s important for Nassau County, which doesn’t lose ChemRX to some greener pasture in some other incentives-laden state.

And it’s a clear win for Hempstead: Laboratory Corporation of America, a diagnostic-testing lab leaving Uniondale for New Jersey this month, departs with 116 employees in tow, according to the Hempstead IDA.

Also winning: Angion Biomedica Corp. and Nova Park LLC, the tenant and landlord, respectively, of the 108,000-square-foot Uniondale building in question.

Laboratory Corporation of America currently sublets 60,000 square feet from Angion, a small-model therapeutics expert and the actual recipient of the Hempstead IDA incentives deal. Angion and Nova Park are planning to renovate the space to the specifications of ChemRX, a subsidiary of Kentucky-based PharMerica Corp. that supplies prescription medications, surgical supplies and durable medical equipment to congregate-care facilities.

Fred Parola: Health, economic and otherwise.

The estimated $3.9 million renovation is not the first time the partners have requested or received Hempstead IDA assistance: Angion and Nova Park were granted an IDA incentives deal when they took over the Charles Lindbergh Boulevard property in 2011.

Like the Suffolk IDA’s incentives package for InvaGen, Angion and Nova Park’s new tax-abatement deal must still undergo a full Hempstead IDA review and official approval vote.

But like his counterparts in Suffolk, Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency CEO Fred Parola was also playing past the formalities, invoking the pandemic recovery and the importance of pharmaceutical companies while stressing the critical need for such economic-development deals.

“The preliminary approval granted today by the IDA will assist two companies that are critical to not only the economy of the Town of Hempstead, but also the health of people everywhere in these difficult times,” Parola said in a statement.