Incyte state grant

Incyte in line for $14.8M state grant to expand in Wilmington

Betsy PriceHeadlines, Business

Incytestate grant

Incyte, which has 1,500 employees in Delaware, is looking to expand in Wilmington. Photo from Incyte video.

Incyte Corp, which gave up on a bid to build a five-story building near Wilmington Friends School, is in line for a $14.8 million grant from the state to expand in Wilmington.

The agenda for the Council on Development Finance’s meeting on Monday, May 20, says Incyte is requesting a Delaware Strategic Fund grant in that amount.

Usually, by the time a request reaches the council it’s been explored and vetted enough by others that it sails through.

The agenda doesn’t say where the biopharmaceutical company plans to expand, but it’s believed to be in downtown Wilmington.

Efforts were unsuccessful to reach an Incyte Corp. spokesperson for comment.

“The State and the City have had recent discussions with Incyte as the company seeks to expand its operations,” said a statement from Gov. John Carney’s office. “We are hopeful that everything will continue to come together so we can talk more about this in the near future.”

Incyte, which specializes in drugs for rare and hard-to-treat diseases, including cancer and those caused by inflammation and autoimmunity, was founded in Delaware in 2002. It now has 2,500 employees, with 1,500 of them based in Delaware.

Hervé Hoppenot, chairman and chief executive officer of Incyte, told the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in January that the company’s revenue has risen 600% from $511 million in 2014 to $3.4 billion in 2022.

The company plows 44% of its revenues back into research and development, he said.

Incyte and Alapocas

Incyte had announced in 2019 that it planned to buy Wilmington Friends’ lower school for $50 million and build a 5-story, 400,000-square-foot building to expand.

Neighbors in the Alapocas neighborhood, which surrounds the Wilmington Friends campus, fought the plan, saying the size and lighting would disturb the neighborhood, as would a stream of cars driven by hundreds of employees to and from the structure.

Incyte was particularly interested in that site because it’s close to their nearby headquarters in the old Wanamaker Department Store building.

Although courts ruled that Wilmington Friends had ever right to sell the property, Incyte decided not to go ahead with the project.

The state has a variety of grants it gives state companies to expand, bases largely on the ideas that those expansions will keep or bring in more jobs and those workers will be buying homes, paying taxes and otherwise stimulating Delaware’s economy.

One of the big grants is for lab space, and a lot of Incyte’s work takes place in laboratories. The agenda doesn’t mention those grants, but they are often awarded separately.

If Incyte did move a lot of its employees to offices or labs downtown, it might also help fill downtown apartments, and those residents are likely to patronize nearby residents and entertainment spots.

Hoppenot said it takes about three years to develop a workable drug and another six years or so to test it and get it approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Incyte’s scientists spend years looking for just the right molecule, he said, to make a drug work.

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As a sign of Incyte’s pride in being a Delaware company, Hoppenot pointed to the last four letters in the name of one of its drugs: ZYNYZ, used to treat a certain kind of skin cancer by working with the body’s immune system.

Its technical name is retifanlimab-dlwr.

“So guess where it’s coming from?” Hoppenot asked the crowd. “I think we have only medicine where the name of the state is part of the general name.”

The council will meet in the Delaware Room at the Delaware Public Archives at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Dover.

While the meeting is open to the public, the agenda notes that the council reserves the right to go into a private executive session when it deems it necessary.





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