MOSES LAKE — A new $30 million facility to manufacture an algae-based product will begin construction here soon, a Japanese pharmaceutical company announced today.
Fuji Chemical Industry, a global company based near Toyama City in Japan, said the new biotech manufacturing plant will hire up to 45 employees and begin operations in late 2014.
Under its subsidiary AstaReal Technologies, the company will manufacture natural astaxanthin, a microalgae-based food supplement with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s the nutrient that provides the red color in salmon meat and some shellfish and is sometimes used as a food dye.
According to Fuji CEO Mitsunori Nishida, the company decided to build in Moses Lake because of its cheap hydro power, abundant water, a skilled labor force and local culture welcoming to Japanese companies. For decades, Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake was home to training operations for Japanese Airlines, the international passenger and cargo carrier.
City, state and county officials have worked with Fuji over the last year to bring the plant to Moses Lake, a Fuji press release said. Fuji Chemical and its subsidiaries sell products in more than 20 countries. AstaReal is the global brand name of Fuji’s astaxanthin business.