Virginia Beach lures budding biotech company with biomed park and $25,000 grant

VIRGINIA BEACH – A biotechnology company is moving to the city’s new biomedical park and will be getting a $25,000 grant for the relocation.

Richmond startup Sanyal Biotechnology will move its headquarters in July to Virginia Beach’s planned 155-acre park. The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved the grant Tuesday for the company, which is barely a year old and has garnered interest from the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, according to Sanyal CEO Rebecca Caffrey.

The company is a spin-off of a project developed by Dr. Arun J. Sanyal at Virginia Commonwealth University. It tests the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on fatty liver disease using specially bred mice that have a human-like liver. The proprietary mice contain a strain which naturally develops fatty liver diseases, like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver-diseases, which helps with testing effectiveness of drugs, according to a release.

Caffrey said Virginia Beach was an appealing location because of the $25,000 incentive and the ability to shape the bio park’s development to fit her company’s needs.

“It’s important we’ll be able to talk to the developer and help design any space we go into in the future,” she said.

Sanyal will be moving into 1,500-square-feet of office and lab space at Tidewater Community College’ Regional Health Professional Center.

Sanyal will fill eight high-level jobs in Virginia Beach that will require doctorates and master’s degrees, Caffrey said. The company expects its salaries to average $100,000 and plans to eventually conduct business overseas, possibly in the U.K.

Other cities and organizations had offered incentives to the company but only Virginia Beach delivered on one, Caffrey said.

“Virginia Beach has an ability to put its money where its mouth is and help little companies like ours,” she said. “The biggest thing when getting started is finding that money, and every little bit helps.”

The city, meanwhile, is trying to burnish its image as a growing destination for the biomedical industry.

“Biomedicine and the healthcare industry as a whole is growing exponentially,” said Steve Harrison, the city’s business development and research manager. “If you look at the percent of the GDP, biomedical, healthcare spending in the U.S. will be pretty large in the next 20 years.”

Always be informed. Get the latest news and information delivered to your inbox

Print Friendly, PDF & Email