Hong Kong biotech firm plans US headquarters in northwest Arkansas

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Pacific GeneTech (PGT), a animal health biotechnology company based in Hong Kong but with roots in Arkansas, plans to establish its US headquarters in northwest Arkansas.

According to a March 11 press release, the new headquarters will be a biotechnology and manufacturing center that will house an adjuvant manufacturing facility, vaccine development laboratory and management office.

In response to an investigation by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, a company spokeswoman declined to add details on the precise location of the headquarters or the number of people who will work there. It is expected to open at the end of 2022 and create new jobs in the biotechnology and animal health industries.

In the release, PGT said it is establishing its U.S. headquarters in northwest Arkansas “based on the ability to attract technical executives and skilled employees to one of the fastest growing regions and the rapidly growing United States, the potential for close cooperation with collaborators, such as the University of Arkansas, from where the technology was derived, and strong state support.

PGT is a private company. It develops and markets vaccines to meet global needs caused by various infectious diseases in animals and humans.

“These are exciting times for PGT as we enter a new phase for the business,” PGT chief executive Tim Collard said in a statement.

Former Governor Jim Guy Tucker founded the company in 2009 with Louis Bowen, executive chairman and chief financial officer of PGT. The initiative focused on developing vaccine technology from the AU Poultry Science Department for commercial purposes.

Earlier this year, PGT added retired poultry executive and former University of Arkansas professor Ed Fryar of Rogers to its board. Fryar was a professor of agricultural economics at UA for 13 years.

In October 2000, he co-founded Ozark Mountain Poultry in Rogers. The company, which specializes in raising chickens without antibiotics or animal by-products, started with 25 employees. When Fryar sold the late business 2018 at George’s Inc., based in Springdale, it employed 1,800 people with facilities in Rogers, Batesville, Magness, Bay and Newport.

In February 2019, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Fryar to a 10-year term on the AU board.

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