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Assurex Health to expand headquarters in Mason

Assurex Health to expand headquarters in Mason

Cincinnati Enquirer: Assurex Health to Expand in Mason

MASON – Assurex Health announced Thursday it will expand its headquarters in Mason, ending months of speculation of a possible out-of-state move by one of the region’s leading biotech startups.

Company officials say they’re in ongoing negotiations with city and state officials to finalize incentives and select a site in the Warren County community to build a new 60,000-square-foot headquarters and state-of-the-art clinical laboratory.

Don Wright, the company’s chief operating officer, said that the state and Mason offered competitive economic incentives to remain in the city. Ultimately, he said, the decision to stay hinged on “intangible” benefits offered by the city.

Among those benefits: Close proximity to some of the company’s strategic partners, like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Lindner Center of Hope and universities; an educated regional workforce; strong collaboration with Mason city officials and a high quality of life for employees.

“It’s not just about tax abatements and grants,” said Wright.

“We’re here in the region because our research partners are here,” he said. “There’s a fantastic talent pool here to hire from. On top of that, as a person who was born here and grew up here, it’s a great place for our employees to raise their families.”

Assurex Health employs 240 worldwide, including 140 at its headquarters in Mason.

Wright said four other states – Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana – approached the company with offers to relocate.

“We didn’t put together a search committee,” he explained. “We never negotiated with the city of Mason, or Ohio. We collaborate with them. The other states, it was no match in the end.”

The announcement marks the second time since 2011 that the fast-growing company – a signature firm in the city of Mason’s effort to establish a biotech corridor along Interstate 71 — has resisted offers to move out of state.

Under pressure from investors, the company was considering a move to the West Coast in 2011 until Mason approved a 100 percent 15-year tax abatement and a $100,000 forgivable loan.

As part of Mason’s incentives package, Assurex Health also receives special lease rates at city buildings, where it currently leases 25,000 square feet in the Mason Community and Municipal centers.

The state of Ohio provided a matching $100,000 economic development grant, in addition to a $1.2 million job retention and growth loan from the Innovation Ohio Loan Fund. Assurex Health has also received $113,265 in performance-based tax credits from the state for meeting and surpassing job growth.

Mason Mayor David Nichols said that city officials took a “calculated leap of faith” in partnering with the personalized medicine startup that, fewer than five years ago, employed 15 and operated out of an old garage and karate studio near Kings Island.

“For us, it was a futures market,” Nichols said. “It not only sets the seeds for the biotech corridor we want to do and the type of jobs we want to attract, there’s a fantastic return for the taxpayers.”

Nichols said Assurex Health ranks among the top three fastest-growing companies in the city and is poised to become one of the city’s top revenue-producing businesses. The company’s average salary is about $90,000, twice the national average, he said.

“Here’s a company that’s on the very leading edge of technology that can impact the quality of life for potentially millions,” said Nichols. “It’s almost like an Intel or Microsoft locating here. My gosh, what a home run for the community.”

About Assurex Health
Assurex Health, which launched out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2006 and now operates out of the Mason Community Center, extracts and analyzes DNA from cheek swabs. Within 36 hours, it sends a report through a secure portal to doctors, detailing which medications are most likely to be effective for individual patients based on his or her genes.

Company officials say its GeneSight test helps doctors prescribe the right medication for patients suffering from mental health disorders and chronic pain, reduces costs associated with health care and improves clinical outcomes.

In December, the company announced it had lined up $32 million in new funding to boost sales of its genetic-based test, which is now covered by Medicare and approved for use in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs more than 1,400 facilities nationwide.

Assurex Health employs 240 worldwide, including 140 at its headquarters in Mason.

Source: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/2015/01/22/assurex-health-remain-mason/22171301/