Sen. Klobuchar visits unique Bioscience plant

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(ABC 6 News) – Senator Amy Klobuchar was in Austin Thursday touring a new biosciences facility that is the first of its kind in the nation. Klobuchar described it as synergy.

The combination of Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute, and thriving agriculture in southeast Minnesota makes it the perfect place for biosciences.

The new NU-Tek BioSciences plant is set to open August 26. Nu-Tek CEO Thomas Yezzi and Austin Mayor Steve King are thrilled about the project, and thrilled to have Klobuchar there.

"It’s a very big day for us at Nu-Tek,” Yezzi said of the Senator’s visit.

"You can tell she’s one of us. So we’re happy to have her here,” King added, after his conversation with Klobuchar.

Much of Klobuchar’s work revolves around lowering prescription drug costs. She says this new plant aligns with that work.

“The more we can make things in America and we can have control over our supplies, that’s better for prices,” she said.

Austin’s Nu-Tek plant is the only U.S. owned, peptone plant in the United States. Peptone is a type of protein critical to pharmaceuticals. Many believe with this new Nu-Tek plant, Austin is slated to become a hub for biosciences in the country.

"We’re extremely comfortable here in Austin and so far, it’s been a great fit,” Yezzi said.

He says Austin is a great fit because Nu-Tek was looking for close proximity to institutions like Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute, and the University of Minnesota.

“We have basically our own triangle of research,” Klobuchar said.

Southeast Minnesota has a long history in manufacturing jobs, something Yezzi says was attractive to Nu-Tek, because they knew they would find workers in the area.

"This business will be here for a very, very long time,” Yezzi said.

Nu-Tek’s first phase of work is going to create 35 to 40 jobs in Austin. The ultimate goal, however, is to start manufacturing actual pharmaceuticals at the Austin plant as well. Yezzi says that could create hundreds more jobs.