LEXINGTON, Ky. — A $19 million investment is expected to create up to 78 full-time jobs in Lexington.

What You Need To Know

  • Summit Biosciences Inc. makes $19 million investment, expected to create 78 full-time jobs

  • Company focuses on nasal sprays, is developing one for COVID-19

  • Expansion to bring company footprint to 44,000 square feet

  • Company founded in Lexington in 2009

Lexington-based pharmaceutical company Summit Biosciences Inc. is expanding its operation at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus with the investment. The company focuses on nasal spray medicines.

“We need companies like Summit Biosciences more than ever, and I could not be happier to see its tremendous growth in Lexington,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “This company has represented what it means to be part of Team Kentucky during this pandemic, donating personal protective equipment to the local community and working on an urgently needed treatment for coronavirus. Summit Biosciences is a company with a bright future in Kentucky.”

The expansion, which is close to being done, will bring the company's footprint to 44,000 square feet with increased manufaturing, laboratory and warehouse space. The increased space will be used to produce new nasal spray medicines, including one for COVID-19. Last May, Seattle-based pharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics awarded Summit a contract to accelerate the development of a nasal spray medicine for preventing and/or mitigating a COVID-19 infection. The product is being developed as an at-home treatment option for patients. 

“We are excited and honored to have been entrusted by Atossa Therapeutics to aid in the development of a product that could potentially be used in the global fight against the coronavirus,” said Greg Plucinski, president and COO of Summit. “Our dedicated, high-performing team has taken this immense responsibility and worked extremely hard to deliver products for the start of human clinical studies in record time.”

Founded by Edwin Cohen in 2009, Summit develops and manufactures prescription nasal sprays for other pharmaceutical companies to commercialize and distribute through the U.S. and Europe. Since December 2016, Summit's staff has grown from 45 to 125 employees.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton called Summit a "success story."

“If you want to understand the strength of our economy, take a look at Summit Biosciences,” Mayor Gorton said. “The story starts with University of Kentucky brainpower in pharmaceuticals. Next, an investment from the city’s Jobs Fund and from the state to get this UK start-up off the ground. By 2016, the company employs 45; then 100 in 2018; and now 125. Similarly, Summit’s facility has continued to expand, from 7,850 square feet in 2018 to 44,000 square feet today. Summit’s success story is also our community’s success story in growing good jobs. I recently visited their offices in Coldstream Research Campus. Summit Biosciences, congratulations!”

President and CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc. Bob Quick also reacted to the expansion.

“The Commerce Lexington Inc. Economic Development team was honored to work with Summit Biosciences in 2009 when they started a specialized pharmaceutical company, and it’s exciting to see the company expand its footprint multiple times right here in Central Kentucky,” Quick said. “Summit Biosciences has not only been dedicated to creating well-paying jobs for many of our residents, but has also been committed to advancing the greater good in our community by donating PPE items earlier this year to organizations in need and implementing innovative strategies to address the current pandemic. We are very proud that Summit Biosciences calls Lexington home, and we look forward to many more announcements like this in the future.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) approved a modified 10-year incentive agreement with Summit under the Kentucky Business Investment program. Based on Summit's $19 million investment and annual target, the agreement can provide up to $1.5 million in tax incentives. The annual targets include creating and maintaining 78 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across ten years, and paying an average hourly wage of $28 including benefits across those jobs.

Summit can be eligible to keep a portion of the tax revenue it generates by meeting those annual targets. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.

Summit can also receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network, which allows companies to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.