A 5-year-old biotech company is expanding at Beverly's Cummings Center as it hopes to gain an increasing share of the multibillion-dollar enzyme manufacturing business.
Enzymatics, which was founded in 2006 by Beverly natives Christopher Benoit and Stephen Picone, says it expects to triple its revenue in 2011.
"The sky's the limit for us," Picone said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the company's expansion last week.
Benoit and Picone, who met as high school interns at New England Biolabs, started the company after identifying a growing need for the production of enzymes used in genetic analysis.
The company began with four employees during the tough economic times of 2006. It now has a full-time staff of more than 50 and is looking to fill 15 more positions. The company, which is privately held, says its revenues have doubled every year since 2007 and is now in the $10 million to $50 million range in annual sales.
Enzymatics manufactures the enzymes at its Cummings Center lab and sells them to health care and bioscience companies. It now ships its products to more than 20 countries.
Benoit said the company's enzymes are used by its customers to develop instruments and other products used in genetic testing.
"We are basically making the gasoline that fuels the genetic analysis industry," he said.
George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and an adviser to Enzymatics, said excitement around the genetic testing field is reminiscent of the early days of computing and electronics.
"It's the same feeling, that we're on to something big here," he said. "This industry is growing faster than any other industry has ever done."
A report by Global Industry Analysts said the global market for specialty enzymes is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2015.
Benoit acknowledged that enzyme manufacturing is a crowded field, but said Enzymatics has distinguished itself by providing a quality product at a reasonable price.
"In a down market, everybody is looking to lower the price, but they don't want lower-quality," he said. "We lower the price, and we raise the quality."
Benoit said the Cummings Center, which is home to 35 life sciences companies, has been an ideal location for Enzymatics. Some of the company's best customers are located there, he said. Also, the office park's proximity to the train station and its on-site restaurants mean many employees do not need to use a car.
Enzymatic board Chairman Ian Ratcliffe attributed the company's growth to the persistence of Benoit and Picone.
"They were just so determined to make it succeed," Ratcliffe said. "They gave up very secure, well-paying jobs to do this. They really want to make it big. I can imagine being here a few years from now and seeing 1,000 people."
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.