SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

October 10, 2012

Biotech gets foothold

US Biological builds big facility here, hopes to attract more

SALEM — When you see the large glass and steel edifice that Warren Shore built on Technology Way as the new headquarters of United States Biological Corp., it’s hard to imagine where he began.

Shore started, would you believe, in the attic of his Swampscott home.

“We had to leave my attic when we had nine people,” the USBio president said.

He took the company to Texas, Baltimore and then Marblehead, where he stayed for 11 years, before deciding to pick up his test tubes and head to a much larger space in Salem. He recently moved into an 86,000-square-foot building across the street from Salem Glass Co. and Thermal Circuits.

Although he didn’t exactly plan it this way, Shore’s building is so large it has room for tenants, who are starting to come. In time, this could become the first biotech center in Salem.

“I’m filling up pretty quickly,” Shore said.

A small diagnostic company, Akrivis Technologies of Cambridge, which recently formed a strategic partnership with USBio, plans to move in next month. Akrivis, which develops technology and research tools for the early detection of cancer, currently has lab space at North Shore InnoVentures in Beverly.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the city to start tapping into the biotech ecosystem,” said Joel Berniac, the president and co-founder of Akrivis.

Other small companies, which Shore declined to disclose, are apparently getting ready to make the same move.

“We’re the next logical step when a company comes out of an incubator,” Shore said. “It’s part of the ‘build it and they will come’” theory, he said of his large building with lots of lab space. “We’re now at the forefront of making Salem a logical choice for biotech companies.”

He concedes, however, that he did not have a master plan when he decided to construct this large building.

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