Fort Myers Regional Partnership Announces $5 Million Grant Approval for VR Laboratories

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The Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office, announced today that the county has approved financial incentives totaling $5 million for VR Laboratories, LLC to support its new venture.

The Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office, announced today that the county has approved financial incentives totaling $5 million for VR Laboratories, LLC to support its new venture. VR Laboratories plans to create 208 new, full-time jobs in Lee County over the next five years with average salaries of $66,850 plus benefits. The anticipated economic impact to Lee County is in excess of $40 million per year upon project completion.

The $5 million in county incentives is awarded from Lee’s County’s Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets (FIRST) Initiative, a county fund created with $25 million in reserves to build Lee County’s economy through diversification.

Commissioner Frank Mann, chair of the Lee County Board of Commissioners said, “Our goal is to further diversify the economic environment in Lee County. We believe that VR Laboratories holds great promise for helping us accomplish that goal. They have a seasoned management, research and development team and are poised to serve as a catalyst for additional research and development partnerships. This translates to higher wage jobs and career opportunities not currently found in Lee County.”

VR Laboratories was formed to be the leading global formulator and producer of FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals and medicines and proprietary ingredients for medicinal and functional foods and beverages. Medicinal and functional foods and beverages are the fastest growing segments of the global food market. FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals, the newest segment of the global pharmaceutical industry, is estimated to achieve a Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 600+%.

Achievement of the Company’s growth goals will necessitate moving to a newly constructed cGMP production facility by early 2013 or expanding its leased facilities.
The production facility will be designed to be the most efficient producer of science proven effective and safe medicinal and functional foods and beverages and the world’s most advanced botanical pharmaceutical production facility. The details of the facility are currently being negotiated.

“With our proven senior management team and a technology licensing agreement in the areas of medicinal foods and beverages and botanical pharmaceuticals, the new VR Laboratories facility will bring a world-class team under one roof to collaborate, manufacture, and market world-class botanical, medicinal and pharmaceutical products to foreign and domestic markets,“ said Reginald Steele, Executive Chairman, VR Laboratories.

With the additional enhancement of the proprietary HerbalScience technology platform, founded by Lee County resident Robert Gow, and 36 fully developed medicinal and functional ingredients, VR Laboratories is poised to lead these global markets by producing proprietary science proven products for a ready global consumer market.

“Lee County is an ideal location for our headquarters, research and manufacturing facility with its pro-business government, the quality of life conducive to attracting world-class talent and the proximity of the Foreign Trade Zone at RSW International Airport, critical for our incoming and outgoing shipments,” continued Steele.
“This grant approval from the FIRST program furthers our mission of diversifying Lee County’s economy, through the creation of high-paying jobs within target industries,” stated Jim Moore, executive director of the Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office. “We are proud to support and welcome VR Laboratories’ headquarters to our community. Their presence will both strengthen and diversify our local economy.”

About Fort Myers Regional Partnership
The Fort Myers Regional Partnership works to attract new and diversified businesses resulting in high-wage, high-skilled jobs; retains and encourages the expansion of existing businesses and improves the overall business environment. Lee County is a thriving business community with a highly regarded airport, significant corporate development and ample real estate opportunities. The area is attracting, retaining and growing high-value businesses with a unique blend of an outstanding business climate and superior quality of life. The county is home to five vibrant cities--Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel--and is the heart of Southwest Florida.

The Partnership continues to promote and build the region through ongoing efforts from its proactive team of domestic and international recruiters, research staff and community liaisons, as well as through its partnerships with the Horizon Foundation, the Horizon Council and the Lee County Industrial Development Authority. The county is also actively promoting its incentive programs including the Lee County Job Opportunity Program and the FIRST Initiative program which currently offers $25 Million in business location and expansion incentives.

For more information, visit http://www.25MillionReasons.com.            

Media Contact: Jennifer Berg, Marketing and Communications Director, Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office at (239) 338-3161.

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