BIO-CAT, Inc., a biotechnology company that specializes in enzymes and other advanced microbial solutions, plans to add at least 30,000 square feet to its fermentation facilities in Zion Crossroads. The expansion is projected to start in 2022. The company will add several new jobs and is considering building another 30,000-square-foot section in a second phase.
“Louisa County has partnered with BIO-CAT from the very beginning – they understand not only the economic value that [we bring] to the county, but the overall benefit this expansion can bring to the local community,” said Stephen Schuler, associate vice president of operations.
“It is very rewarding to witness a Louisa business and industry leader grow and thrive locally to meet the demands of their global customers,” said Bob Babyok, Louisa County Board of Supervisors chairman (Green Springs District).
“Similar to brewing and distilling fermentation processes, microbial fermentation can be costly; it requires substantial customization of both building design and equipment. Custom fermentation tanks, stainless steel piping, centrifuges, spray dryers, storage tanks and other unique equipment will be installed at the site, all of which require federal Food and Drug Administration oversight and regular inspections.
“Whether developing beneficial bacteria like probiotics for the human digestive system and production animal feed or developing the right strains to amend the soil microbiome for agriculture, we are developing amazing proprietary solutions for the future,” BIO-CAT Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Chris Schuler said.
“BIO-CAT’s financial commitment in this expansion and creation of new job opportunities for our citizens is critical to local economic growth and success,” said Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes, who represents the Patrick Henry District where the company is located.
BIO-CAT recently celebrated 33 years of industry leadership, during the same year that the company lost its co-founder, Ed Schuler, at the age of 89. Ed, his son Chris and partner Brian Huffman founded the company in 1988.
The firm has doubled its business every five years and is involved in human nutrition, animal nutrition, and crop science. As the company’s revenue has grown, so has its presence in Louisa County. What started as a 12,000-square-foot building has since expanded to over 90,000 square feet.
In 2005, Chris Schuler decided to expand the business portfolio from a pure focus on enzymes, to producing and fermenting probiotics, via an acquisition of a biotech company in Minnesota. After 15 years of success in Minnesota, the company plans to expand that business through the expansion in Zion Crossroads.