Iowa has lost a biotech race to South Dakota. A Connecticut company that’s a partner of Sioux Center-based Trans Ova Genetics will build its new biotech labs in South Dakota rather than Iowa. Trans Ova had lobbied Iowa officials for a 33-million liar state grant, and while the Iowa House endorsed the deal, the Senate failed to go along. Dr. Jan Schuiterman, Trans Ova’s C-E-O, says the Iowa legislature’s failure to commit state aid prompted its partner company to make the move in South Dakota. Schuiterman says there are “lots of projects and opportunities in this biotech area, and this is going to be much more of a regional opportunity than maybe a lot of people in Des Moines understand.” Legislators and the Governor expected Trans Ova and its partners to vy for a portion of the 500-million dollar “Iowa Values” Fund established in late June, but Schuiterman says his company may scale back or even drop its own plan to build a protein purification plant since the Connecticut company will build one nearby in South Dakota. Schuiterman says Hematech and Trans Ova have been strategic partners, so he looks on Hematek’s decision to build in South Dakota rather than Iowa as a positive for the region. Schuiterman says Trans Ova has always expected to grow across state lines. Schuiterman expects there to be new livestock farms in South Dakota where the genetically-altered cattle used to produce human medicines will be raised. Hematech will build a purification center in Sioux Falls, and the state of South Dakota will provide half the money for the 15-million dollar project.
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