When Brian McMillan searched for a new home for the pharmaceutical company he founded, he discovered exactly what he wanted 20 minutes north of Tampa in Pasco County, Florida.
“I love where I live in Wesley Chapel. It has everything I need, so I wanted to be able to work here as well,” said McMillan, president and CEO of Bravado Pharmaceuticals LLC. “I live just a couple miles from my business. How great is that?”
McMillan says, “I could live pretty much anywhere in the world if I wanted to. This has become home. I see great potential in Pasco County. This is a top 10 growth area in the U.S.”
The $3 million capital investment in Lutz includes new HVAC, security, GMP manufacturing space, warehouse space and other infrastructure in a 7,500-sq.-ft. facility in the Wesley Chapel area in the northern Tampa Bay Area suburbs. McMillan plans to hire 10 new workers over the next six months and as many as 50 in two years.
“We definitely have the objective to grow, and this new location gives us that opportunity,” says McMillan. “We are right off Interstate 75 about two miles from the exit. You can access our site from either Highway 54 or Highway 56 at I-75.”
The new headquarters at Compark 75 is the culmination of a lot of planning and investment by McMillan and his team. Bravado uses the platform of a contract research organization (CRO) to serve clients who bring projects to the firm for development. Bravado specializes in developing multi-layer tablet dosage forms and combination products as well as bio-availability enhancement using complexation and solid-state dispersion among other techniques.
For decades, almost all of the contract manufacturing work for producing key pharmaceutical ingredients has been outsourced to suppliers in China, India and other parts of Asia. McMillan says the COVID-19 pandemic has shown American leaders that must change.
“In the future, that work will come home and take place here,” he says. “I am aware of about a dozen projects that are on the table now. Previously, that work would have been sent to China. We are going to start selling to China instead of vice versa.”
Talent Pool Includes USF, UF
Pasco County is the perfect place to do that, McMillan adds. “When you look at the amount of corporate space and industrial parks in Wesley Chapel, it makes a lot of sense to locate a life-science project here,” he says. “I can draw highly talented workers for my business within a 20-mile radius. I can recruit world-class administrative and scientific personnel. The University of South Florida in Tampa is definitely an asset. I serve on the board of USF Connect, an incubator for scientific companies. We can also recruit from the University of Florida in Gainesville. I got my master of science in pharmacy at UF, and I still have all kinds of connections there.”
Bravado is not alone. Over the past few years, Pasco has become a mecca for life-science organizations looking to grow in the greener pastures along I-75 north of Tampa. TouchPoint Healthcare, a medical device company that started in Chester, Pennsylvania, moved its global headquarters and manufacturing to Pasco. Fleda Pharmaceuticals, a Chinese company that makes gummy vitamins and supplements, chose Pasco for a U.S. manufacturing site. And the granddaddy of them all, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, just closed on land to establish a 2.5-million-sq.-ft. campus on 800 acres in the future in Pasco.
Pascal Testeil, president of TouchPoint Healthcare, says the 121-year-old company chose Odessa in Pasco for its $30 million, 142,000-sq.-ft. headquarters because the location was easily accessible for all employees, offered more value than some urban areas, and Pasco was very easy to work with. “We worked with the Pasco EDC,” he says. “They were very easy to work with. Culturally, we found it would be a good fit for us in this area. Plus, we are on a site that will enable us to double the size of our facility when we are ready to grow again.”
Springboard to Latin America
“We have everything these employers need to build world-class life-science operations,” says Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council (Pasco EDC) “We have a certified sites program, incubators, workforce development programs and an international business attraction effort. Florida is not known as a place that has a lot of industrial sites, but we are rapidly changing that perception. Pasco is different from the rest of Florida. We are right in the center of the fastest-growing market in the U.S., and you can use Florida as a springboard to other markets like Central and South America.”
Assets abound throughout the region, adds Cronin. “By locating in Pasco, you gain access to all of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, the regional universities, and a great highway system,” he says. “Most importantly, you gain access to a workforce in an MSA of 3.1 million people. We frequently do international trade missions with delegations from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. And our highway connectors make Pasco an attractive argument for logistics end-users. We’re well connected to the east and the whole I-4 Corridor to Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Coast.”
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of the Pasco EDC. For details, contact Tom Ryan at 813-926-0827, ext. 228, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. On the web, go to www.PascoEDC.com.
Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.