GILBERTSVILLE, Pa.—The first couple months of the year have been a time of inaugurating a new, more expansive facility for Rockland Immunochemicals Inc., as well as gradually moving into that new space, located in Limerick, Pa.
Planning for the expansion, though, goes all the way back to 2012.
“We recognized an increased demand for both our antibody products and related custom services, especially by diagnostic and drug discovery clients looking for a collaborative partner who can deliver a broad array of services to fulfill the strategic needs,” recalls Richard Smith, chief operating officer of Rockland. “Building this laboratory allows us to expand our capabilities and to deliver more to our clients while maintaining our quality standards.”
Smith says the company initiated its search for an appropriate location immediately, working with Paul Touhey, who is a leading commercial broker for biopharma in the Philadelphia area, as well as with Joe Gambone, CEO and president of the Gambone Group, to close a deal on a 60,000-square-foot facility in Limerick, Pa.
“We like the location because one, it is close to some of our largest clients; two, it provides us with a palate on which to build a facility that delivers on our value proposition to our clients, employees and community; and three, the leaders in Limerick township have a well-defined vision for future growth in the community that makes sense,” Smith explained to DDNews in February, when the process of relocation was still ongoing. “We have recently completed the build-out of the laboratory and are moving into the space as we speak.”
Smith says Rockland designed the space “to focus on our strength as knowledge workers who accomplish our mission through collaborative efforts. We looked at the space that tech companies like Google and Apple are building, and we decided that we, too, wanted to create an open, inviting and fun environment where our employees and clients would feel comfortable and where the space itself promotes the exchange of ideas and encourages innovation.”
The new facility is designed to serve clients today and in the future, and toward that end, the company nearly tripled its lab space.
“Our clients and employees are excited that this enables us to provide enhanced capabilities directly and efficiently, including high-throughput projects and the development of 2D clearance assays,” Smith notes. “We now have the room to deploy new technologies that deliver more value to our clients. We also reserved significant space within the new facility for future expansion. As our customers require more from us, we can quickly gear up to meet that need. Additionally, we designed our space to accommodate strategic relationships with other providers whose offerings complement those that we provide.”
Rockland has been located in Gilbertsville, Pa., since its founding in 1962, and the last expansion of the physical plant was in the 1990s. The company projects that this new space will adequately serve its client needs for three to five years and can serve as Rockland’s cornerstone for future expansion.
“We specifically chose our new location because available nearby space can satisfy our needs as they arise,” Smith says. As to the future, “We do have plans in 2014 to update and to expand the facilities that support our core antibody production capabilities. We believe that these changes will deepen further the confidence our clients have in our production systems and quality programs.”
Smith describes the expansion as “transformative,” and says that there is a significant opportunity and need for a company that can deliver high-quality projects in the United States to biopharma clients that support their diagnostic and drug discovery and development efforts.
“This facility enhances our ability to deliver on our value proposition to our clients and to grow to meet their future needs,” Smith says. “We are both excited and eager. It’s exciting to make significant investments in our team because it demonstrates the confidence we have in them to deliver top-notch science against the opportunity presented by our clients. Now that we are in the new facility, we are eager to show our clients the results and impact for them.”