Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 26 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
JRS Pharma is already the world’s largest producer of cellulosic products for the pharmaceutical industry, and the company’s recently announced $18 million expansion of its southwest Cedar Rapids manufacturing operations brings nearly half of the company’s pharmacellulosic operations to the Corridor, company officials said at a formal groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 6. And it’s no coincidence that Cedar Rapids was selected for JRS Pharma’s latest expansion, company CEO Ken Seufert said to a gathering of development officials and company employees. “We really could have built this plant anywhere,” Mr. Seufert said. “We could have built in Asia, we could have built in Europe, we could have built in South America, but we chose to build right here in Cedar Rapids, and for good reason. Cedar Rapids offers us stability, safety and a competent, professional and capable workforce. Not only does this plant accelerate JRS’ position as the world leader in cellulosics to the pharma industry, but it also fosters high-value, clean and stable jobs for the Cedar Rapids community. This commitment to growth reflects JRS’ values to its team members, the industries we serve, and the communities in which we live.” Construction of the 9,200-square-foot manufacturing expansion of JRS Pharma’s plant at 725 41st Ave. Dr. SW, including related site improvements, machinery and equipment, is already well under way. The new JRS Pharma facility will manufacture microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) products for the pharmaceutical industry. MCC is a term for refined wood pulp and is commonly used as a texturizer, an anti-caking agent, a fat substitute, an emulsifier, an extender, and a bulking agent in the production of various pharmaceutical products. “From this site, we're going to provide many of the ingredients that go into critical medicines,” Mr. Seufert said. “As a world leader, we never forget the importance of our products to the patients that need important life-saving drugs and critical medicines. This plant will help ease the burden on the global supply chain, enabling efficient manufacturing and delivery of critical raw materials to the pharmaceutical generic, over-the-counter and nutritional industries.” Under city incentives for the project, approved by the city council in September, JRS Pharma LP will receive a 10-year, declining scale tax exemption on increased property value generated by the project, in accordance with the Urban Revitalization Plan for the area. In this case, the incentive will provide an estimated exemption of $462,000 in total property taxes over the 10-year period. The incentive was contingent on the JRS Pharma expansion project being approved for incentives under the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Business Financial Assistance Program. The IEDA approved those incentives in September. The project will also result in the creation of 18 new jobs, all of which will meet the state’s current High Quality Jobs wage threshold of $24.40 per hour. Cedar Rapids mayor Tiffany O’Donnell and city manager Jeff Pomeranz also attended the groundbreaking ceremony, expressing their support for the company’s expansion. “We know here in Cedar Rapids, we build things,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “It's in our DNA, and JRS Pharma represents the quiet work that people have been doing in Cedar Rapids for generations. We are so grateful that you are willing to choose Cedar Rapids. We are well aware that you have a lot of choices where you can be, and we have the people who are dedicated to continuing that tradition alongside you.” Mr. Pomeranz stressed the importance of JRS Pharma, a longstanding local manufacturer, continuing to expand their operations in the city. “We always look for new companies to come, but what's most important to us is to see the growth and the development and the expansion of existing companies like JRS Pharma,” Mr. Pomeranz said. “It’s evident that you have a very energetic, committed, high-quality workforce, and there's really a lot of excitement here today for this kind of expansion into what all of you do for the company, and really for the world, as you produce the important products that you do.” The new facility is expected to begin operations in early 2024, company officials say.