May 1, 2013

Life Sciences Boom Prompts Expansion For Franklin Firm

Courtesy photo
Hamilton Storage Technologies opened its new, 55,000 square-foot east coast headquarters in Franklin's Forge Park in Decemeber.

A flourishing life sciences industry has created a practical problem for companies that need to protect precious samples: how to store them.

For Hamilton Storage Technologies, which celebrated the opening of its new east coast headquarters in Franklin last week, it's a good problem to have. The company designs and manufactures automated storage sample management systems, which store and track samples for biotechnology customers.

Storing 'High-Valued Assets'

Matthew Hamilton, vice president of Hamilton Storage Technologies, said the company has seen demand for storage systems skyrocket since the company opened a Massachusetts location six years ago.

Employment in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries grew 42 percent between 2002 and 2011, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. The state has one of the highest numbers of biotech R&D employees in the country. And the industry's payroll in Massachusetts is more than $6 billion.

Those are all positives for Hamilton, which has seen increased demand for its systems.

"Organizations typically never throw away samples because they're such high valued assets," Hamilton said."It's almost like big data. "No one ever throws away files."

Hamilton describes his business, a division of Nevada-based Hamilton Co. founded by his grandfather, as life sciences robotics. The company builds automated systems that eliminate the risk of human error for spoiling samples, he said.

As business grew for Hamilton, the company needed more room. Hamilton closed its former headquarters in Hopkinton in December and moved to its new, state-of-the-art building in Franklin's Forge Park – the last open site in the business park. A second office in Milford will close later this spring, and those employees will move to Franklin, too.

Room To Grow At Franklin Headquarters

Hamilton built its 52,000 square-foot east coast headquarters to suit on a little more than 8 acres of land. The $15-million building includes energy-efficient features, and manufacturing space and office space. All operations will take place under one roof.

Franklin was a particularly appealing locale, Hamilton said, because of its proximity to Route 495, its workforce of 61 employees, and area clients, which include Genzyme, Novartis, Children's Hospital Boston and Merck . A 10-year tax increment financing agreement with the Town of Franklin worth about $190,000 sweetened the deal, Hamilton said.

Following the move, Hamilton said the company expects to add more employees to its payroll in the coming years. The Franklin building was designed to accommodate up to 125 employees in sales, service, engineering and manufacturing departments.

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