A German group of specialized radiopharmaceutical companies has selected Hickory, North Carolina, for the first North American manufacturing plant of its subsidiary Isotopes Technologies Garching, creating 137 new well-paying jobs.

The parent company Isotopen Technologien München AG (ITM), based in Garching near Munich, will invest $12 million in Catawba County. ITM develops, produces and supplies innovative diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals. Some of ITM’s products are part of a new generation of targeted cancer diagnostics and therapies.

“Establishing our first North American facility is a remarkable milestone for our company and we are very excited,” said Steffen Schuster, CEO of ITM. “This enables us to achieve further growth and to be closer to our U.S. customers providing advanced targeted radiotherapeutics, which are likely to create enormous opportunities in cancer treatment.”

“Catawba County and Hickory as an important biotech location offers great infrastructure, attractive support and is located close to several major U.S. population centers,” he added. “These benefits convinced us that this is the best place for our new facility.”

The new facility will be an isotope manufacturing operation primarily producing Lutetium 177 for medical use to serve the North American market. Additional production lines are anticipated as well as research and development and radiopharmaceutical development and production.

Salaries for the new employees will vary by position and experience. Once all positions are filled, the annual payroll impact will be more than $9.7 million. The average salary is higher than the Catawba County average of $41,531.

“North Carolina is a leader in biomanufacturing and chemical manufacturing, and ITM’s selection of Catawba County elevates that reputation,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “Hickory has the infrastructure and talent ITM was looking for, and the partnership shown among local and state leaders is why they landed in Catawba County.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina led the state’s support for the company’s selection.

ITM’s facility in Catawba County will be supported, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $1.1 billion. Using a formula that accounts for the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,685,700 spread over 12 years. State payments only occur after the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.

Because ITM chose to expand in Catawba County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $187,300 in new tax revenue generated through the grant into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.

Partnering with Commerce and the EDPNC on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Catawba County, the City of Hickory and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.