HUDSON — As part of a company-wide expansion, the laboratory pipette creator Integra is poised to acquire a new facility at 22 Friars Drive and relocate its office space from 8 Executive Drive to the new building this summer.
Vice Chairman Gary Nelson said he and four other original partners already own the building on Friars Drive, and they plan to sell it to Integra for $4 million. Nelson and his partners built the facility in 1998 for a precursor company called Matrix Technologies.
They had been leasing the space to other firms until it became unoccupied a few years ago. The Integra board is expected to vote on the building acquisition in about two weeks. Nelson said he expects the company will invest about $200,000 in renovations.
Integra’s current space at Executive Drive, used for administrative offices, warehousing and light assembly, is leased. The company will continue manufacturing plastic tip fittings for their manual and electronic pipette devices at the nearby 27,000-square-foot plant at 2 Wentworth Drive.
The building on Friars Drive is about twice the size as the Executive Drive building with about 33,000 square feet, Nelson said, and is located just around the corner in the same industrial park.
The move coincides with a move this summer to a larger plant in Switzerland, where the electronic pipettes are assembled.
Nelson said the expansion is being driven by significant sales growth. In 2018, it saw 23 percent growth over the prior year, amounting to $60 million in sales. That's up from $12 million when Swiss-based Integra acquired the U.S. company Viaflo in 2009, he said.
“And that’s pretty much what we’re projecting for the next five years,” Nelson said.
The company employs about 250 people, about half of whom work in Hudson. In five years, it expects to reach about $120 million in sales and add 30 to 50 employees company-wide.
Nelson said the company hopes to hire five to 10 people in the first year. It has positions open for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems expert, an engineer and some assembly and sales staff.
“They can be part of something that really has an impact,” Nelson said.
Nelson said the company introduced the manual pipettes just over a year ago as a way to provide a lower-cost option to smaller-scale labs. And he said the proprietary plastic tips that fit at the end of their liquid handling devices are the fastest growing segment of the business.
Nelson said the company boasts multiple patents on things such as their plastic tip fastening process, unique volume adjustment controls for the manual devices, and a digital interface resembling a classic IPod interface on their electronic devices.
“We drive ourselves pretty hard to be innovative,” Nelson said.
Aside from the Hudson molding facility, Integra has also partnered with a firm in Israel to make the plastic tips. And in the past few years, Nelson said Integra has opened sales and warehouse centers in Switzerland, England, France, Germany, China and Japan.
Labs use the pipettes to squirt small amounts of precisely measured liquid either to research chemical reactions or test biological samples. Nelson said the biotech world is growing with venture capitalists willing to invest in scientists in the hopes of owning the next big medical treatment or high-tech innovation.
Plus, Integra’s major clients, which include companies like Merck, always pay their bills on time, Nelson said.