Iowa Values Fund delivers money to Trans Ova
Sioux Center firm gets $9 million
DES MOINES -- Trans Ova Genetics, the northwest Iowa biotechnology company, won a $9 million grant last week from the state's new $503 million economic development fund.
The Sioux Center-based company has eight expansion projects on the drawing board, including a purification plant for animal life science products, an animal biodefense facility and a research center.
The $9 million will be doled out over the next two to three years as the projects, totaling $37.7 million, are built. Other state and local programs will provide another $6 million to help with research, job training and other efforts, for a total of $15 million in aid.
The company had requested $13.6 million from the Iowa Values Fund, created earlier this year by the Iowa Legislature.
"We think it's a great opportunity to achieve what we've been talking about the whole time -- that is building this cluster of life sciences companies in Iowa, for Iowa, with high value jobs and high value opportunities for future students and future jobs in Iowa," said Jan Schuiteman, Trans Ova chief executive.
Trans Ova is one of the nation's top reproductive technology companies, working with farmers to produce superior beef and dairy herds. The company also is a leading researcher into the biopharmaceutical capability of cattle, including the production a blood plasma protein being produced in cows' milk and used for medical treatments.
Company officials said the new investment will create 315 jobs, with an average wage of $45,444, over the next four years.
"These are the kind of jobs I was confident we could attract to the state if we just had the tools," said Gov. Tom Vilsack, who proposed the fund to promote growth in high-tech industries.
Members of the board that oversees the Iowa Values Fund noted the risk of giving so much money to an industry dependent on new technologies.
"I have concerns about this company and concerns about whether they will be good neighbors," said board member Marcia Nichols.