Australian Companies Set Up Shop, Call Hershey Home

Posted on 6 APRIL 2011: Hershey, PA. Nearly 10,000 miles, three oceans and billions of people separate Pennsylvania from major metropolitan areas within Australia. Despite the distance, Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) has emerged as a key resource to international organizations interested in a U.S. facility. This spring HCAR welcomes vivoPharm, its second tenant from Australia in the past two years. vivoPharm is a contract research organization from Adelaide, South Australia that’s setting up shop in Central Pa. to compete with other contract research organizations in the U.S. market.

vivoPharm provides a clinically predictive integrated preclinical services in different disease areas (with focus on cancer) to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. With construction currently underway, vivoPharm plans to occupy 5,800 square feet space of building one at HCAR.

“The opening of our facility in Hershey represents the company’s biggest undertaking since our founding in Adelaide, South Australia almost eight years ago,” Dr. Ralf Brandt, CEO and Managing Director, vivoPharm said. “The size of the U.S. biotech and pharma market, the quality of the research and drug development activities performed in the region and the size and quality of vivoPharm’s future Hershey facility represent inflection points in the development of our company. We are very exited about this opportunity and the future we envision for our facility and the company as a whole.”

vivoPharm joins ide+, also at HCAR, a provider of design and engineering services to companies wishing to develop new products for mass production. ide+ established its North American base in Hershey nearly one year ago, becoming the first international company to open an office at HCAR.

“We chose Central Pennsylvania as our North American base thanks in part to its close proximity to both existing ide+ clients and to a thriving local industry, particularly in the key areas of life sciences and advanced manufacturing,” Richard Sokolov, Director – Product Development said.

Both vivoPharm and ide+ worked closely with Angela Foley, Council of Great Lakes Governors, to establish their new offices in Hershey. Angela worked closely with the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Jack Atchason, HCAR’s Director of Business Development, to facilitate introductions and provide strategic services that helped manage the transition from Australia to Pennsylvania.

“After Dr. Fernando Felquer, vice-president of vivoPharm’s global business development, visited HCAR, we soon realized that the research park and Hershey fulfilled all our requirements in terms of what we needed for our new endeavor in the U.S. After a few weeks of negotiations, the agreements were signed and we started working towards building our business in the region.”

“Our growing, international tenant base is a testament to the economic competitiveness of the state,” Jack Atchason, HCAR Director of Business Development said. “We are thrilled to have vivoPharm as HCAR’s second Australian-based company and look forward to welcoming more international companies looking to establish U.S. operations in Central Pa.”

“International companies making the transition to the U.S. require a lot of support from an operational perspective, and we are proud to provide these services,” Atchason said. “Every company’s needs are different. With vivoPharm, we assisted with incorporation, immigration, recruitment, relocation and financial services, among other areas. This is an active engagement, which will continue as we help vivoPharm grow and prosper in their new space. Our proactive approach is definitely what sets HCAR apart from the other research parks.”

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