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Contract research company undergoes $5M renovation

February 17, 2016
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MPI and partners to build molecular imaging lab in Mattawan
MPI Research is located in Mattawan, west of Kalamazoo. Courtesy MPI Resarch

A company that offers pre-clinical and early clinical contract research services is undergoing a $5-million renovation.

Paul Sylvester, EVP and CFO of MPI Research of Mattawan, said the company will be renovating about 50,000 square feet of its vivarium space, which spans a total of 400,000 square feet, and upgrading its HVAC system to “meet new regulatory standards” and to “exceed customer expectations.”

Renovations include adding 50 new animal rooms in the vivarium, which currently has more than 500 animal rooms.

The new animal rooms will include “state-of-the-art housing materials,” ensuring the “highest possible standards” of animal welfare.

Sylvester said MPI Research is “dedicated to providing optimal care and welfare for all animals.”

“This includes assuring that our animals are housed to meet, and often exceed, regulatory compliance in regards to caging, temperature, air flow and access to food, water and enrichment,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester said MPI will also be relocating its clinical pathology lab to increase its size by nearly 50 percent, from 6,200 square feet to 9,200 square feet, and will be purchasing new lab furniture, hoods and equipment.

The upgrades will allow lab personnel greater efficiency.

The renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

The multi-million-dollar investment is being made as a result of strong market demand.

“We had double-digit growth for 2015 and are planning for that to continue in 2016, given the market tailwinds that we are all enjoying,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester said biotechnology companies have received robust funding in the last few years, and larger pharmaceutical companies have increased their research and development spending, which has resulted in increased demand for pre-clinical services.

To meet the increased demand, MPI expects to increase its workforce by 10 percent, or nearly 130 employees, in the next year.

The company currently employs 1,300 workers.

“We currently have over 100 openings and are working hard to fill each position as soon as we are able to identify and match applicants accordingly,” Sylvester said.

The company is also on the search for a new CEO.

Company founder William Parfet, who has also been the company’s chairman, president and CEO, announced his retirement in January.

Sylvester said the company is conducting a search currently to identify candidates for the CEO position.

He expects the position will be filled in the next three to six months, as long as the right candidate can be found.

The renovation will likely be followed by an additional investment.

The company said it’s “exploring plans” to expand its surgical department with upgraded suites and additional equipment capabilities.

Sylvester said MPI Research is “pleased to be part of the economic rebound and growth within our great state of Michigan.”

“We are proud to partner with these organizations that are developing new drugs that improve the quality, and sometimes even save, the lives of people around the world who are in need of care,” he said.

MPI Research claims it’s the largest single site pre-clinical contract research organization, or CRO, in the world.

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