Hong Kong biotech company plans U.S. headquarters in Northwest Arkansas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,294 views 

Pacific GeneTech (PGT), an animal health biotech company based in Hong Kong but with Arkansas roots, plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Northwest Arkansas.

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

In response to an inquiry from the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, a company spokeswoman declined to add details of where, specifically, the headquarters will be or how many people will work there. It is expected to open in late 2022 and create new jobs in the biotechnology and animal health industries.

In the release, PGT said it’s establishing its U.S. headquarters in Northwest Arkansas “based on the ability to attract qualified technical management and employees to one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing areas in the U.S., the potential for close cooperation with collaborators, such as the University of Arkansas, where the technology was derived, and the strong support by the state.”

PGT is a privately held company. It develops and commercializes vaccines to address global needs caused by various infectious diseases in both animals and humans.

“These are exciting times at PGT as we move into a new phase for the company,” PGT chief executive Tim Collard said in a statement.

Former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker founded the company in 2009 with Louis Bowen, PGT’s executive chairman and director of finance. The initiative focused on developing vaccine technology from the UA’s poultry science department for commercial use.

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

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

In February 2019, Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Fryar to a 10-year term on the UA Board of Trustees.