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A big investment for bioscience company located on P.E.I.

Brian Stewart, Sekisui Diagnostics’ director of manufacturing, shows off an automatic filling and labelling machine during a tour of the company’s expanded facility on Tuesday.
Brian Stewart, Sekisui Diagnostics’ director of manufacturing, shows off an automatic filling and labelling machine during a tour of the company’s expanded facility on Tuesday.

CHAROTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Sekisui Diagnostics is growing.

The bioscience firm with locations around the world recently completed a $6-million expansion at its Charlottetown manufacturing facility.

Brian Stewart, Sekisui Diagnostics’ director of manufacturing, said the expansion gives the company’s Island employees a world-class facility to make high-quality products.  

“People wouldn’t recognize the building if they had been in here a year ago,” he said.

Sekisui Diagnostics produces medical diagnostics kits in Charlottetown that are used around the world.

The company bought Diagnostic Chemicals in 2011, increasing its workforce by more than 30 people since then and leading to the need for the recent expansion.

On Tuesday, Sekisui Diagnostics held a tour of its expanded facility that includes two new automated packaging lines, a cold storage building and other renovations.

The expansion costs included $3.5 million the provincial government spent on renovations to the building.

It expects to recoup that money through a lease agreement with Sekisui Diagnostics.

The company paid for the rest of the capital costs involved in the expansion.

Stewart said the expansion and renovations allow the company to grow by adding more floor and manufacturing space so it can take on more customers.

“It is a big investment,” he said.

A new clean room will also allow Sekisui Diagnostics to make products in P.E.I. instead of importing them from Japan, which will save money and reduce the company’s environmental footprint, Stewart said.

“It puts it in our hands to reach markets from this area.”

In total, Sekisui Diagnostics employs 120 people full time in Charlottetown.

That number could grow as the company plans for a further expansion announced Tuesday along with the ribbon-cutting on the recent expansion.

Stewart said there are a few projections on what the further expansion will mean for jobs at Sekisui Diagnostic, but nothing concrete.

“At this time it’s still too early to tell,” he said.

Work on the new expansion will start this summer and Stewart said the hope is to have it finished by February.

Ryan.ross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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