SARANAC LAKE - Nearly a year-and-a-half after the village announced that a pair of Lake Placid biotech companies would relocate to Saranac Lake and help form what was billed as a budding biotech cluster, all the pieces of that cluster are finally in place.
Active Motif was welcomed to the village Wednesday night at a well-attended reception in the company's new location at 17 Main St.
"It's a night to celebrate," village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said during a brief ceremony for the company. "We're doing great things here in Saranac Lake, and there's a lot more great things to come."
The biotech company Active Motif was welcomed to its new location in the former village Water Department building on Main Street in Saranac Lake at a reception Wednesday night. From left are Active Motif Research and Development Director Laura Carpenter, Bart Challis, the company’s Carlsbad, Calif.-based director of operations, village Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Scott Paschke, Active Motif’s director of business development.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
About 50 people showed up for the event at the former village Water Department building, which the village spent roughly $450,000 renovating for Active Motif and its eight employees. The company is leasing all of the building's second floor and part of the first floor from the village. Active Motif was previously located in the basement of a health spa on Saranac Avenue in Lake Placid.
"We've got a nice new facility here with more space than we had in our previous building," Scott Paschke, the company's director of business development, told the Enterprise. "We're really excited to be here."
Active Motif joins Myriad RBM, another biotech company that moved to Saranac Lake from Lake Placid earlier this year. Myriad is located just across the Lake Flower dam in the three-story former village offices, which the village spent $780,000 to renovate for the company and its 24 employees.
In addition to having more space and the attraction of being downtown, Paschke said one of the big reasons for Active Motif's move was the chance to be close to Myriad and Trudeau Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research center located just outside the village. Employees of both Myriad and Trudeau were on hand for the ceremony.
"Scientists certainly like to be near other scientists," Paschke said. "Even though (Active Motif and Myriad RBM are) different companies, it certainly fosters discussions that may lead to new inventions and new products. Being right next to each other makes it easy to share equipment and help each other out as much as we can."
"And being close to Trudeau, where we do have a few collaborative products that they're helping us make ... both companies that are here now are using services from Trudeau. That helps us, it helps them, and we only hope to see more of that in the future."
Myriad RBM manufactures tests designed to detect biomarkers, or proteins, in blood that can be used to measure the effectiveness of a particular drug or the progress of disease. Active Motif produces antibodies used by researchers and scientists in the field of epigenetics, the effort to understand the overriding instruction manual that turns genes on and off.
"It's an extremely important biological area that impacts pretty much every aspect of human biology: cancer research, diabetes research, infertility research," Paschke said.
"The way I look at it is, between these two businesses, you have two companies that are at the forefront of science," said village Treasurer Paul Ellis. "They create the tools for those scientists to do their work. It's great to have them here."
Village officials have said the presence of Active Motif and Myriad RBM, along with Trudeau Institute and Bionique Testing Laboratories in the town of Harrietstown's Lake Clear business park, creates a biotech cluster in the Saranac Lake area that could attract similar companies to the community. Earlier this year, the village won a statewide economic development award from the New York Conference of Mayors for its biotech cluster building effort.
"This is just the start," Rabideau said. "We have two biotech companies. We want to use our networking and our human resources to go out and find others."
Wednesday night's event was sponsored by the engineering and construction firms involved with the overhaul of the building, which had to be completely gutted. The renovations included new heating, electrical, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, a handicapped-accessible lift and new interior walls, among other upgrades.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.