Facility to broaden research, add jobs
May 27, 2004
UL — Construction will begin within a month on an expansion of UL Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center, opening the door for more research and jobs, the center's director said.
The center is home to nearly 6,000 primates used in medical research by pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health, a government consortium of institutes specializing in particular fields of study.
The 50,000-square-foot expansion, which will cost nearly $9 million, is required to keep up with the center's research demands and federal regulations on cage space, said Thomas Rowell, the center's director. The lack of cage space has slowed the center's growth for the last 1 1/2 years and forced the center to turn away research.
Pharmaceutical companies hire the research center to house and maintain animals vital to research during the developmental stages of drug manufacturing. Ten years may be needed to develop a new drug and get it approved for human trials, Rowell said.
With the expansion, Rowell expects that between 50 and 100 new employees will be needed, some in specialized fields such as medical technology and veterinary science.
John Robbins of Beyt, Robbins Inc. of New Iberia is the project architect. The firm specializes in medical facilities. Contractor M.D. Descant Inc. of Bunkie won the contract for the expansion, Robbins said.