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Tris Pharma signs major lease as it plans for manufacturing hires

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The Cranbury property will house Tris Pharma's manufacturing arm, as well as its research and development operations in the future. (Matrix Development Corp.)
The Cranbury property will house Tris Pharma's manufacturing arm, as well as its research and development operations in the future. (Matrix Development Corp.)

While pharmaceutical companies continue to shutter facilities throughout central New Jersey, one firm has launched an aggressive effort to expand its footprint in the area.

To accommodate a spike in manufacturing activity at its South Brunswick headquarters, drug maker Tris Pharma Inc. recently leased a 103,350-square-foot warehouse in Cranbury, though an executive said the company projects to grow out of the new facility within three years.

"We've been looking on and off for new space in the last couple of years … as we've grown to have roughly 200 employees. But since we recently received FDA approval for a very meaningful product that we think will equate to another 75 to 100 jobs, we decided it was time to expand," said Peter Ciano, vice president of corporate development at Tris Pharma. "Though our growth all depends on what drug approvals we get — since you could be approved for the cure for cancer worth billions of dollars, or the ninth generic of penicillin worth $400 — I think if we continue the way we're going, three years from now, we'll have at least 400 employees."

In addition to housing Tris Pharma's 70 current manufacturing and distribution workers, the Cranbury facility will be modified over time to accommodate the firm's research and development arm, since the space ultimately will hold 150 employees in both fields, Ciano said.

Though moving those operations will expose a significant amount of space at the company's 43,761-square-foot headquarters in the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, Tris Pharma finance director Adam Drapczuk said the company is "a lot like a generics company, in that when we expand into a new space, it's a trickle-down effect for our old space, which we use for expanding in another area of need," such as quality control and conference space.

"We have two products that we're hoping to launch soon, and four others on top of that are not going to be launched as soon, but will be eventually," Drapczuk said. "With them, we're expanding across the board, and we plan on being here a long time."

The warehouse currently includes 12,432 square feet of office space, 21-foot high ceilings and seven dock doors. Drapczuk said Tris Pharma leased the space from a related party, which purchased the property in a sale officiated by the Cranbury office of Matrix Development Group.

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