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Honibe first tenant in Biocommons building built by APM

Jun 6 2011

The P.E.I. government’s much-touted BioManufacturing Centre in Charlottetown, which was supposed to attract new and emerging companies to the Island, has announced its first tenant.

Island Abbey Foods, also known as Honibe, will be the anchor tenant in the $4.65-million centre located in the 65-acre BioCommons Research Park across from the West Royalty Industrial Park.

Honibe, which has been in business for seven years, is a P.E.I. success story creating the world’s first 100 per cent pure honey drops.

In Wednesday’s provincial budget, Finance Minister Wes Sheridan announced Island Abbey Foods, which recently appeared on the CBC show Dragons Den, will be moving in the park.

In addition, TetragenX Agro, a provider of medicated, pre-mixed nutrition and health products for the animal health and pharmaceutical markets, will also set up shop in the new building.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane said Island Abbey Foods is a good company but she’s surprised by the lack of interest in the BioManufacturing Centre.

“Another broken promise and failure when it comes to job creation in this province,” said Crane.

“As you remember, that famous prosperity plan talked about creating 2,000 new jobs in the bioscience field alone and that was to come from the private sector so once again another failure, another broken promise.”

The Liberals’ Island Prosperity plan described the BioCommons Park as ‘the’ major infrastructure initiative in the province. The goal of the park would be to create a national centre of excellence in natural product development for health applications.

The BioManufacturing Centre would “act as the research and business hub of the research park,” the document reads.

It goes on to say a wing of the centre could house technology platforms driven by UPEI and NRC. The remainder of the facility would provide turnkey incubation facilities for “firms to advance their commercialization and development efforts.”

Innovation Minister Allan Campbell couldn’t say how many new jobs adding Island Abbey Foods will create in the BioManufacturing facility.

But Campbell did say there is significant interest for the remaining space and more announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

“I don’t think you can discredit putting Island Abbey Foods into the BioCommons,” said Campbell.

“Here you have a company that is well recognized here in P.E.I. but also recognized internationally. We’re pleased to have them.”

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