A business unlike anything else in Arkansas will begin building its new facility in Fayetteville early next year.
OurPharma is a startup that'll begin manufacturing generic medications on a 14.9-acre site in the Fayetteville Commercial Park, employing 10 to 12 workers once the manufacturing begins. The company's long-term vision is for the company to make low-cost alternatives to pricy prescription drugs and to employ more than 100 people within seven years. The company plans to invest approximately $31.1 million in the Fayetteville facility.
A groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack and more than 40 other people, was held Monday at the company's planned location in the commercial park.
“We want to fill a great need for generic drugs locally, in the region, and nationally by starting with compounding, and then progressing into the manufacturing of generic pills, tablets and capsules,” said Dr. Peter Kohler, CEO of OurPharma. “Our goals are to be a major generic drug company over the next decade and to provide affordable and much needed medications to the patients.”
The company plans phases of development over 10 years. The first phase will focus on compounded medications necessary for hospitals and clinics. Production requires careful adherence to state and Food and Drug Administration guidelines. During the next two phases, OurPharma plans to expand into the generic drug market by focusing on products such as insulin, which is too expensive for many diabetics.
“I am pleased to welcome OurPharma as the first generic drug manufacturer in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “Drug costs are an increasing concern, not just for Arkansans, but for citizens throughout the country. It’s great to see Arkansas at the forefront of the research and technology behind the manufacturing of affordable options that will improve the quality of life for many families. Dr. Kohler’s decision to locate OurPharma in Arkansas speaks volumes about our state’s business climate and our workforce.”
OurPharma would like to collaborate with bioengineering departments, including the University of Arkansas, to develop high-quality, cost-effective alternatives to devices such as the EpiPen. The company also hopes to set up elective training opportunities for graduate level students in the University's College of Business and the College of Engineering. That's in keeping with Kohler’s longstanding career in promoting higher education, having recently retired as the vice chancellor of the UAMS Northwest Campus.
“I am so thrilled to see the substantial investment that OurPharma is making in the Fayetteville Commerce District, along with the 10 new high-paying jobs as they establish their headquarters here,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “This is yet another testament to the city’s robust economic development plan, which is well underway and paying dividends for our economy. The quality of life in Fayetteville is what draws new employers with high-paying jobs to our city, and I’m excited that we continue to grow as a great place to live, work, play, and do business.”
“We are excited to have worked with Dr. Kohler and his team from the beginning and now to see the fruition of this project,” said Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. “Dr. Kohler’s work adds to the healthcare sector that we are building in Fayetteville.”