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Adesis celebrates expansion in space, sector and staff

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Special to Delaware Business Times
By Ken Mammarella

A New Castle contract research organization specializing in organic synthesis on Friday afternoon celebrated its expansion in space, sector and staff

Adesis Inc. is expanding its “core business into speciality manufacturing,” increasing its space at the Southgate Industrial Center by 60 percent and adding about 40 scientific positions.

“You’re going to be a winner,” former Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Reilly said at the end of the event in an area to become 5,600 square feet of laboratory space, including 14 walk-in fume hoods, 18 bench-top fume hoods and inert atmosphere capabilities, plus outside chemical storage facilities.

Adesis, a subsidiary of Universal Display Corp., now employs 76 people, including contracted chemists. It anticipates staffing to hit 107 next year and 120 in 2020. The expansion’s first phase pushes its space at Southgate and the Experimental Station to 54,500 square feet.

A half-dozen elected officials joined the company staff and government, business and academia people for the ceremony, and the unifying theme of remarks was cooperation.

Adesis President Andrew Cottone began by thanking a dozen people and various groups – including the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Delaware Innovation Space, the Delaware Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware BioScience Association – for supporting the firm’s “aggressive growth plans.”

“We can do things in Delaware that other states can’t do,” Gov. John Carney said. “Work with business and government together.” “We all came together as we always do,” said John Riley, of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, a public-private arrangement that recently replaced the Delaware Development Office.

Adesis received a Delaware Strategic Fund grant of about $450,000 for “these jobs and this growth, Cottone said, adding that it was the first company to participate in Carney’s economic development initiative. The partnershi last year replaced the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Adesis traces its history to CB Research and Development, founded in 1991 in Newport, with a staff of three. It moved to Southgate in 2000 and was acquired in 2005 by Adesis, which was acquired by Universal Display in 2016. The New Jersey-based Universal focuses on organic light emitting diode technologies, and Adesis technology goes into smartphones, tablets and OLED TVs, Cottone said. In May, Adesis purchased a 47,500-square-foot headquarters building in Southgate. A 7,000-square-foot Experimental Station deal was announced last year.

Cottone said Adesis, which specializes in organic and organometallic synthesis, has staff from five continents and exports products to six.

He is prone to comparing the company’s story to Rocky Balboa, the fighter who believed in himself. Adesis’ growth is proof that “a bunch of chemists trying to run a business” are having their science validated, he said.

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