HALF HOLLOW HILLS, New York, May 21
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Melville’s Route 110 corridor became a bit more international last Thursday as global biopharmaceutical company Kedrion Biopharma stepped into the spotlight.
At a dedication ceremony for the company’s Melville facility, Kedrion hosted more than 100 people including New York Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci and the New York Giants’ newest defensive back, Josh Gordy.
Kedrion Biopharma, the U.S. subsidiary of Italian parent company Kedrion, works in more than 100 counties to collect and fractionate blood plasma in order to produce and distribute plasma-derived therapeutic products for use in treating and preventing diseases, disorders and conditions like hemophilia and immune system deficiencies.
The Melville facility – which Kedrion Biopharma acquired in 2011 and is nestled in-between Route 110 and Maxess Road at 115 Duryea Road – opened in 2013, but has recently become host to a suite that will be dedicated to the production of Anti-D immunoglobulin, or RhoGAM – the medicine used to prevent the immunological condition, hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).
“This will become our hub for our U.S. facilities, here in Melville,” Larry Guiheen, chief commercial officer, said. “We are going to invest in this building… We’ll continue to grow and, over the next several years, we’ll be doubling the size of this plant and its production capabilities.”
In 1968, the first RhoGAM treatment was administered at the Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J. to combat HDN – a disorder that develops in fetuses, which was killing 10,000 babies per year in the United States – Neal Fitzpatrick, Kedrion Biopharma’s vice president for commercial operations, said.
Since that first treatment, the disease has been “virtually eliminated” and, to honor that first treatment, Kedrion Biopharma officials announced that they would be matching funds raised by an online silent auction to be earmarked for the center’s Women and Children Services – more specifically, its Mother and Baby facility.
Today, Fitzpatrick said, the world’s RhoGAM is produced in New York and, soon, that will include Kedrion Biopharma’s Melville facility.
“The Melville plant integrates itself perfectly into Kedrion’s industrial model,” Paolo Marcucci, chairman and CEO of Kedrion, said while adding that, in 2014, one-third of the company’s revenues came from the U.S. “For that reason, this celebration of our global growth represents a renewed commitment to ‘Keep Life Flowing.’”
As Lupinacci pointed out, Kedrion Biopharma is also helping to keep jobs flowing in the Route 110 corridor as the company employs more than 200 people in Melville – and more than 2,000 nationwide.
“[New York] just slipped to the fourth-largest state… in population,” Lupinacci said, noting that this a trend he hopes companies like Kedrion Biopharma can help combat. “It’s great that we can keep younger people here, especially in the bio-tech area.”
While he’s more privy to working on the football field than a laboratory, the New York Giants’ newest defensive back, Gordy, is one of those young, employed New Yorkers. He was honored during the ceremony for his work with The Josh Gordy Hope Foundation.
The 28-year-old veteran defensive back was signed by the New York Giants to a one-year contract on April 14, but on May 14 he made his way from the practice field to Melville in order to advocate for his foundation, which he founded in 2012 to raise awareness for hemophilia. The disorder, which causes blood to not properly clot, affects 20,000 Americans, according to the Hemophilia Federation of America, including Gordy’s nephew, Nolan Andrews.
“I’m pleased to welcome Kedrion to New York,” he said. “[New York is] my home now… This fall we’re looking forward to a lot of victories at MetLife and even a Super Bowl victory, but the greatest hope is to win the battle against hemophilia.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, May 21, 2015; A2)