Gov. Nathan Deal and a host of dignitaries welcomed Forrest Waldon, president and CEO of Osmotica Pharmaceutical, as they made the announcement at the site Thursday morning.
Waldon said a combination of factors led to his decision to locate in Marietta, including the facility, an educated workforce and tax incentives.
"It would be very difficult to go to an area that did not have skilled pharmaceutical people and just start up an operation," Waldon said. "You need those people, a core group of people, in place to do that. The second thing is the state and county and the city have all done a lot of incentives to make it worth our while to call this home. They've been very cooperative with what we need to plan out the next five years of our life here."
Waldon said staffing would be a mix of bringing in existing Osmotica employees here and hiring new ones.
"We'll have a mixture of both," he said. "I think it would be premature to tell you a percentage, but remember that one of the reasons we like this area is the talent pool that's located here."
Osmotica uses five contract manufacturers around the U.S. to produce its products. In addition to Wilmington, it has commercial operations in Argentina and Hungary.
"This is their first plant in the United States, and we are so pleased that they chose the state of Georgia and right here in the Cobb County, Marietta area," Deal said.
Waldon said Osmotica is developing its own manufacturing capacity.
"We want to move strategically into our own manufacturing operations in the United States," Waldon said. "The reason is, we use five or six contract manufacturers for our products here in the U.S., so we're fairly small. We have probably a little over 100 employees right now. Everybody else is contracted."
Osmotica received close to $2 million in state and local incentives to locate to Cobb.
Beth Sessoms, the city's economic development director, said Osmotica would receive a five-year, phased-in tax abatement on personal property from the city and county valued at $564,000. Osmotica will also receive a $300,000 Regional Economic Business Assistance grant for machinery and equipment, and $975,000 in state tax credits for creating 156 new jobs.
In an Aug. 5 letter to Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty, his deputy commissioner, Gretchen Corbin, wrote, "Without the REBA grant, the company may have chosen to locate instead in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Argentina."
Brooks Mathis, executive director of the Development Authority of Cobb County, said he has also committed to give the company $100,000 to be spent on such things as training or relocation expenses if Osmotica fulfills its commitment in creating 156 jobs and investing $20 million at the site.
Moreover, Sessoms said if Osmotica qualifies with a heavy enough electrical load, between 250 and 3,000 kilowatts, it might qualify for a reduced electrical rate from Marietta Power.
Deal called the tax incentives a worthwhile investment.
"In fact, in talking with one of the leading economists in our state, he says that we are very well positioned on most of the major fronts," Deal said.
What was once the 400-employee Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which had been in Marietta since 1986, began its relocation to Chicago last year when it was sold in 2009 to blue-chip drugmaker Abbott Laboratories for $6.2 billion. It left behind 33 acres and three buildings with a total of 195,000 square feet.
Osmotica bought 29 acres and 90,000 square feet of building space from Abbott on Aug. 3, Waldon said.
"This is a high-end victory," Mayor Steve Tumlin said. "We were devastated when we lost Solvay, and to come back with a high tech industry, a pharmaceutical biotech industry, is just great because that brings higher-paying jobs, it will bring some great people with good minds, which also helps us economically, and it helps our quality of life, our school systems, our neighborhood, so we're very, very excited."
Among those in attendance to welcome the new company were Commissioner Helen Goreham, Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck, Marietta Board of Education Chairwoman Irene Berens, Cobb's Competitive Edge steering committee member Barbara Hickey, Cobb Chamber Chairman Rob Garcia, Marietta Development Authority Chairman Ed Hammock and Cobb Development Authority Chairman Don Wix.
Osmotica is a multinational group of privately owned pharmaceutical companies specializing in neurology-based drug therapies and innovative drug delivery technologies. It has a portfolio of products in various stages of development focused in the treatment of motion disorders related to CNS diseases such as Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. In addition, it developed a family of controlled-release drug delivery technologies.