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Adesis expands Experimental Station lab space

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Adesis, seen here cutting a ribbon at its New Castle headquarters in 2018, will nearly triple its labs at the DuPont Experimental Station. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ADESIS

WILMINGTON – Adesis, the contract chemistry research, development and manufacturing firm that has grown rapidly over the last decade, announced this week that it has nearly tripled its leased lab space at the DuPont Experimental Station.

Adesis will nearly triple its presence at the DuPont Experimental Station through a new lease. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DUPONT/WIKIMEDIA

The company will expand its R&D operation at the Alapocas campus that also serves as an incubator through the public-private Delaware Innovation Space, growing from 8,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, said Andrew Cottone, founder and president of Adesis. Staff have already started occupying the new space and will fill it out quickly.

The expansion of the physical space will undoubtedly lead to additional hires at the labs, Cottone said, adding that he didn’t have a firm number of hires in mind yet. The company currently employs about 140 people at the Experimental Station as well as at Adesis’ 47,500-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant about 8 miles away in New Castle and in smaller offices in North Carolina and California.

Andrew Cottone | PHOTO COURTESY OF ADESIS

“We’re going to grow, we’re going to grow fast and we’re going to grow in Delaware,” he said, noting the First State’s geographic location is perfect between R&D poles of Boston and Raleigh, N.C., and the West Coast and Western Europe.

The company began looking for additional lab space in February, enlisting the help of the state’s economic development agency, Delaware Prosperity Partnership, and signed a lease agreement in May. Unlike its previous expansion at its New Castle headquarters, when it secured a $445,000 taxpayer-backed grant, Cottone said Adesis would not be seeking grant funds for the latest expansion.

Adesis chose to expand at the DuPont campus where it first located in the Delaware Innovation Space in 2017 after Cottone and his staff fell in love with the collaborative and innovative environment fostered there by researchers from a variety of companies. It also faced few ready-to-go lab spaces in the Delaware market though.

“Lab space is just not out there, and the lab space that DuPont was able to offer was absolutely perfect for our needs,” he said.

Acquired by Universal Display Corp. in 2016, Adesis works with its parent company on the development of OLED, or a thin, bendable layer of organic light-emitting diodes that are the foundation for modern TV and computer screens. It also holds significant contracts with biopharmaceutical and eye care companies.

Whether trying to design better TV screens or the latest cancer drugs, the chemistry remains the same, Cottone explained, noting that Adesis has expertise in deuterium isotopes, or a heavier form of hydrogen, and heterocycles, or compounds that have at least two different elements, most commonly including nitrogen.

Adesis’ market position as process chemists allows them to both innovate solutions for their clients while also producing enough material to begin manufacturing of finished products. Coupled with the global supply chain concerns exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire of many companies to re-shore some production, Cottone believes Adesis is poised to grow quickly.

“I think [Adesis] probably was the best kept secret in Delaware and people are starting to hear about us now, but we’re still a secret to much of the chemistry world,” he said. “When people see that we can solve these challenging chemistry problems, and do so quickly, I think Adesis’ future’s so bright.”

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