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Afton Scientific to expand pharmaceutical operation in Albemarle County, creating 20 new jobs

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Afton Scientific LLC, an FDA-regulated pharmaceutical contract manufacturing company supporting the life sciences industry, will invest $500,000 to expand its operation in Albemarle County.

The company will add 20 new jobs and 8,000 square feet to its facility at 2020 Avon Court to accommodate its 50 percent growth over the past year and expected similar growth in 2021.

Afton Scientific is a contract manufacturer of small-batch sterile injectable drugs for clinical trials and commercial distribution. As a contract manufacturing organization, Afton Scientific operates Grade A/Class 100 clean rooms according to FDA regulations on Good Manufacturing Practices in Charlottesville.

The company also meets the regulations of Japan and the European Union. Afton Scientific’s customers include multinational pharmaceutical companies as well as emerging biotechs worldwide. Typical batch sizes are 100 to 15,000 vials, and a second facility that expects regulatory approval in early 2021 will boost the batch sizes to 40,000 vials.

Afton Scientific also provides pre-sterilized and packaged components such as GMP sterile vials for customers looking to perform their own aseptic fills.

“Afton Scientific is a 100 percent exporter of goods and services that brings dollars into Virginia,” Afton Scientific CEO Thomas Thorpe said. “Virginia offers Afton Scientific the strategic environment it needs to develop a highly trained workforce and provide well-paying pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs.

“It’s nice to know that some of the drugs we manufacture are targeting such diseases as Cystic Fibrosis, Breast Cancer, and Primary Immunodeficiency Disease, or utilizing the latest in mRNA therapies and monoclonal antibodies,” Thorpe said.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Albemarle County to secure the project for Virginia and will support Afton Scientific’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities.

As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

“Thanks to innovative pharmaceutical companies like Afton Scientific, our Commonwealth is quickly becoming a hub for cutting-edge technology and research,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “The life sciences sector is more critical than ever as we prioritize the health of Virginians during the ongoing pandemic and work to rebuild our economy. We thank Afton Scientific for reinvesting in its operation in Albemarle County and are pleased to support the company’s next chapter of growth.”

“This expansion will allow Afton Scientific to grow its portfolio of important consumer healthcare products, ensuring the operation’s continued success in the Commonwealth,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “Afton Scientific is a valued employer in a thriving industry, and we look forward to our continuing partnership with the company.”

“Albemarle County is proud to continue to be the home of Afton Scientific and to support its expansion in our community, particularly now, as its products and services are used by pharmaceutical companies and scientific researchers to develop treatments and vaccines,” said Ned Gallaway, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “Afton Scientific provides high-quality career employment opportunities and supports our broader biotech ecosystem.”

“The expansion of Afton Scientific and the creation of good-paying jobs, especially given the current economic climate, are welcome news,” State Sen. Creigh Deeds said. “Drug manufacturing is a critical component of the healthcare industry, and I applaud Afton Scientific’s commitment to growing its business in Virginia.”

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