A South Korean company plans to build an insulin manufacturing facility in Morgantown.
Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday announced that UNDBIO has secured a lease from West Virginia University for a facility that will generate $100 million in investment in its first phase and 200 jobs in its first three years, with plans to scale up to 600 jobs.
“The addition of these good-paying jobs, with the potential for more in the future, is great news for Morgantown and for our entire state,” Justice said. “The Morgantown area has a strong manufacturing history, and I am proud that UNDBIO will join our growing list of successful, world-leading manufacturing companies who’ve chosen the Mountain State.”
According to its website, the company plans to build a facility to develop insulin and insulin analogs on a 23-acre site, with an expected completion date of December 2024. Construction is expected to begin in September or October of this year.
In addition to insulin and insulin analogs, the company offers insulin delivery systems and continuous blood glucose monitoring systems, as well as extended-release injectable formulas.
“This is a world-class company that has a great attitude about economic development and helping the communities in which they live,” Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said.
UNDBIO CEO Jun Yong-soo said the company is developing an insulin product that could reduce the number of injections to once a week and plans to make WVU a partner on that and other projects.
“We will develop and sponsor research and internship opportunities for the university faculty, researchers and students related to insulin and insulin delivery devices,” Jun said. “We will collaborate with West Virginia on the entire circle of insulin product development, including research and development, clinical trials, production and post market studies.”
In phase one, the facility will work to secure FDA approval for the product. After securing FDA approval, UNDBIO plans to expand, creating additional jobs, Justice said.
According to the latest information from the American Diabetes Association, 51 million people in North America have diabetes. It’s estimated that 537 million people have diabetes around the world.
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“The mission of UNDBIO is a vital one — to develop and produce state-of-the-art-technology insulin in West Virginia that is a reasonable price for the diabetic population,” Jun said. “The products of UNDBIO will both save human life and improve the quality of life of those afflicted with diabetes.”
As it has done with other companies, the state provided incentives to bring UNDBIO to West Virginia, this time totaling up to $9 million in subsidies, Justice said.
“That’s what we do,” he said.
The governor said the addition of the facility is a step in the right direction for the Morgantown area, which lost 1,500 jobs in 2021, when Mylan Pharmaceuticals closed a plant after the company merged with Pfizer subsidiary Upjohn.
“It’s another step to us bringing more and more opportunities — 200 high-paying jobs right here in West Virginia, in an area where we lost a boatload of pharmaceutical jobs. And we’re building back,” Justice said.
Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin said the announcement is exciting news.
“The city is ready to partner with the company for many years to come,” Selin said. “They are a quality company that will add great value in jobs and investment in the insulin manufacturing industry.”
Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom also is enthusiastic about the addition of UNDBIO to the county.
“We have been striving to attract jobs in the health sciences arena and are fortunate to have UNDBIO invest in Monongalia County and Morgantown,” Bloom said. “The county will provide ongoing support for UNDBIO, as it does for all business in the county.”