10-21-2019 India-based BioNutra Inc. opening plant in Lenoir

Posted on: October 21st, 2019 by admin


October 21, 2019



By Virginia Annable


Oct 20, 2019 12:00 AM


A company based in India that makes probiotics, vitamins, medicinal foods and dietary supplements has announced its plans to open a manufacturing plant in Lenoir.


BioNutra Inc. plans to renovate the 150,000-square-foot former Hammary/Kincaid Furniture at 2464 Norwood St. and make it the company’s first U.S. manufacturing facility, according to a press release from the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission. The company plans to invest nearly $8 million and to open in 2020.


The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority has approved a $500,000 grant to help renovate the building, the N.C. Department of Commerce announced.


The company expects to hire about 35-45 people each year as it grows, up to a total of about 200, the EDC said.


Caldwell County offered BioNutra — then identified by the EDC only as Project Vanderbilt — job-creation incentives of $2,000 for each new full time job created over four years up to 200 jobs, a total of up to $400,000. Job-creation incentives are paid only after the company documents that it has created the jobs and kept them filled for a specified amount of time.


BioNutra is a subsidiary of Virchow Biotech Pvt. Ltd, in Hyderabad, India. Dr. Murali Tummuru founded Virchow Biotech in 1998, and the company now has 1,300 employees.


Early this summer, Tummuru came to the U.S. to look at potential sites and considered buildings in Baltimore, Dallas, Charlotte and several places near Caldwell County but ultimately chose Lenoir because it offered good real estate value and a chance to “deliver immediate and positive impact from its investment and new jobs,” the EDC’s press release said.


Tummuru also was drawn to the area by the growth he saw in other pharmaceutical companies in Caldwell, including Exela Pharma Sciences, the release said.


BioNutra bought the former Hammary/Kincaid building at the end of September from Martin Webb Investments LLC for $300,000, according to county property records. The property has a tax-assessed value of $847,200.


Tummuru said in the press release he hopes BioNutra will have a big impact in Lenoir.


“We will work hard and see that BioNutra will be a success and make a difference,” he said.


Before creating Virchow Biotech, Tummuru worked at Vanderbilt University’s Division of Infectious Disease. Virchow Biotech products are exported to 40 countries from India, and BioNutra products will also be exported.


Dr. Rajesh R. Tummuru will be CEO of BioNutra, and Chris Money of Lenoir will handle the day to day operations.


Caldwell EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said the impact of BioNutra’s opening will go beyond new jobs and investment.


“Caldwell is growing a biotech cluster that will offer higher wages and dramatically different career options,” she said. “This latest addition gives us the opportunity to expand our training programs and develop a hefty pipeline of talent for these 21st century careers.”


Reporter Virginia Annable can be reached at 828-610-8724.

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