NeoGenomics to expand lab and corporate headquarters in Fort Myers

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— The prognosis for NeoGenomics Inc. is good.

The Fort Myers-based company, experiencing growing pains, will expand its diagnostic testing laboratory and corporate headquarters, off Daniels Parkway near the new Red Sox stadium.

NeoGenomics is one of the nation’s fastest-growing laboratories specializing in genetic testing for cancer. The company handles testing for pathologists, clinicians and hospitals throughout the country.

Lee County’s economic development office announced Friday the company’s planned expansion. The three-year project is expected to create 75 new jobs, paying an average salary of $54,000 a year. The estimated economic impact from the project is $8.1 million.

NeoGenomics, a publicly traded company, will get Lee County and state incentives to help it grow.

As its revenues grow, so does the company’s need for bigger quarters and more room to do its tests, which continue to evolve in a dynamic field.

“The field is just growing very rapidly. New tests are coming out, new breakthroughs and it’s an exciting field to be in,” said George Cardoza, the company’s chief financial officer.

In the first half of the year, the company’s revenues grew by more than 60 percent over the same months last year. In the second quarter, revenue rose to a record $15.6 million, driven in part by significant improvements in laboratory productivity. Test volume grew by 57 percent.

Founded in Naples in 2001, NeoGenomics relocated its corporate headquarters and laboratory to Fort Myers in 2003. Today, the company has 127 employees in Lee County and about 250 nationwide, including sales representatives across the country.

The company will receive a Qualified Target Industry, or QTI, tax refund of $300,000 from the state, plus a local match of 20 percent from Lee County government totaling $60,000 over the next three years.

Lee County also awarded the company $75,000 from its job opportunity incentive program to encourage the local expansion.

NeoGenomics plans to lease more space near its headquarters rather than building anything new, at least for now, Cardoza said.

Gray Swoope, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., said in a statement that NeoGenomics’ decision to expand its laboratory and headquarters in Fort Myers “demonstrates Florida’s commitment to research and development as a driver for economic and job growth.”

Founded in Naples in 2001, NeoGenomics relocated its corporate headquarters and laboratory to Fort Myers in 2003. Today, the company has 127 employees in Lee County and about 250 nationwide, including sales representatives across the country.

NeoGenomics also has labs in Tampa, Nashville, Tenn., and Irvine, Calif., where it’s building a new state-of-the-art lab for molecular testing.

“We’re planning on expanding on both coasts ultimately,” Cardoza said.

NeoGenomics earned Lee County’s Business Expansion Award in 2010, recognizing its capital investment in the community and creation of good-paying, skilled jobs.

“Our mission for economic development in Lee County is to recruit, retain and grow high-skill, high-wage jobs within diversified industries to improve the quality of life for our citizens and to ensure our economic future,” said Jennifer Berg, a spokeswoman for the Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s economic development office.

With its expansion, the company will primarily hire more medical technologists to handle testing and more medical professionals to analyze the results.

“Sometimes, depending on the positions and the level, we do have to recruit from outside of the state,” Cardoza said. “Our preference, of course, is to find people locally.”

Nationally, NeoGenomics added about 50 jobs during the past year.

“We appreciate the efforts of governor Scott and Lee County in helping to create a positive, pro-business environment,” said Douglas VanOort, the company’s chairman and CEO. “This, along with access to state and local financial support, allows us to continue to expand our headquarters and our main laboratory in Fort Myers. New developments are happening in cancer genetics almost every day, and we expect to continue to grow as new and better testing helps our clients identify different types of cancers and find the best treatments to fight them.”

Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement that it shows Florida “is moving in the right direction.

“It’s great to see companies like NeoGenomics growing jobs in Florida, especially in science and technology related fields,” the statement said. “But we’ve got to keep this going. By lowering taxes, removing burdensome regulation and keeping the cost of living low, Florida will continue attracting companies that create jobs.”

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NeoGenomics Inc. will expand its laboratory and corporate headquarters in Fort Myers.

The three-year project will create 75 new jobs, paying an average salary of $54,000 a year. The estimated economic impact from the project is $8.1 million.

The company is one of the fastest growing laboratories focused on genetic testing for cancer.

"NeoGenomics' decision to expand its laboratory and headquarters in Fort Myers demonstrates Florida's commitment to research and development as a driver for economic and job growth," said Gray Swoope, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization, in a statement. "This expansion shows that our economic development partners are successfully collaborating to further grow our targeted life sciences sector, helping to make Florida the best place for businesses to grow and create jobs."

The company's revenue in the first half of this year rose more than 60 percent, over the same months in 2011.

Founded in Naples in 2001, the company opened its corporate headquarters and laboratory in Fort Myers in 2003. Today, the company has 127 employees in Lee County.

"Our mission for economic development in Lee County is to recruit, retain, and grow high-skill, high-wage jobs within diversified industries to improve the quality of life for our citizens and to ensure our economic future," said Jennifer Berg, a spokeswoman for the Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County's economic development office. "Continued growth and expansion with key companies such as NeoGenomics stimulates a positive multiplier effect for our community."

NeoGenomics earned Lee County's Business Expansion Award in 2010, recognizing its capital investment in the community and creation of high-wage, high-skilled jobs.

As part of the expansion project, NeoGenomics will receive a Qualified Target Industry tax refund from the state in the amount of $300,000, plus a local match of 20 percent from Lee County totaling $60,000 over the next three years. Lee County also gave the company $75,000 from the Lee County Job Opportunity incentive program to encourage its expansion.

"We appreciate the efforts of Governor Scott and Lee County in helping to create a positive, pro-business environment. This along with access to state and local financial support allows us to continue to expand our headquarters and our main laboratory in Fort Myers. New developments are happening in cancer genetics almost every day, and we expect to continue to grow as new and better testing helps our clients identify different types of cancers and find the best treatments to fight them," said Douglas VanOort, chairman and CEO for NeoGenomics.

__ Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden

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