Biotech Firm Opens "New Frontiers" In Iowa

Iowa Farm Scene

Agriculture and biotech are focus of Kemin Industries new research and development center in Des Moines.

Published on: September 23, 2013

An Iowa-based agriculture and biotechnology company, Kemin Industries, recently opened its new $16.7 million research and development center in southeast Des Moines. The new facility will allow the 60 employees who work in the building to reach "new frontiers in science" previously unavailable to the company.

The science from the lab will drive development of new products and new generations of existing products. Kemin makes specialty ingredients for a number of products ranging from human health, nutrition and cosmetics to feed additives for dairy cows and beef cattle. The company strives to create products that benefit human health and make livestock healthier and more productive, says Kemin CEO Chris Nelson.

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The new 46,300 square foot Molecular Advancement Center, or MAC, includes state-of-the-art laboratories. The company's existing Innovation Center continues to operate at full capacity with scientists focused on discovery research and pet food. Kemin also plans to build a new corporate headquarters nearby as well as additional manufacturing and research facilities, bringing its investment in new facilities to $40 million. The headquarters is expected to be completed in 2017.

Kemin has added more than 100 employees to support its recent growth

"Our new facility is more than a building. It represents our confidence in employees, our commitment to Des Moines and our vision to improve the quality of life of half the world's population," says Nelson. "The world today presents an enormous challenge for where Kemin needs to go in the next few years. By 2050, an estimated 9 billion people will occupy this planet. They will require 70% more food than we have today." He says Kemin is dedicated to helping feed the increasing population and "it's our mission and passion to do that with safe, nutritious food on a worldwide basis."

Plans for the MAC facility were first announced when Kemin shared its worldwide expansion plans in October 2010. At that time the firm committed to hiring workers for 98 new positions. But it already exceeded that number by hiring 137 new, full-time workers by August 2013. They range from scientists to manufacturing workers. Kemin employs 2,000 people globally.