Gov. Eric Holcomb and Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Tuesday that a New York-based tech company would open its global headquarters in Indianapolis and hire more than 400 workers over the next several years.
iA,which describes itself as a solutions company for pharmacy automation,provides software to pharmacies in the retail, hospital, mail-order and federal health care markets, state and local officials said.The company will maintain its national office in Johnson City, New York.
iA is renovating the 15th floor of 8888 Keystone Crossing and plans to be fully functional by April. It currently employs about 20 workers in Indianapolis and plans to hire 420 more by the end of 2023.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp., has offered the company up to $8 million in tax credits based on the job-creation plans, according to a news release from the agency. It will be eligible for those credits after workers are hired.
“We are global. We are in every United States Air Force worldwide,” CEO Marvin Richardson said during a press conference. “We are doing central fill for retail pharmacy chains where we’re pulling work out of stores, dispensing prescriptions centrally and shipping them back to the stores.”
The company automates the prescription fulfillment process. iA’s makes and installs enclosed robotic unit that feature a large with an arm that’s able to retrieve and label vials and then fill them with medications.
“It will do that 275 to 325 times per hour,” Richardson said.
At the news conference, he did not directly address whether the automation process would lead to jobs losses among pharmacy staff.
“If we can improve the quality of care for patients, making sure they get the right drug at the right time and the right dose and get it back to the store for pick-up and allow that pharmacy to be freed up for patient-facing activities, then that is a good thing to do.”
Using automation to fulfill prescriptions reduces retail pharmacists’ workload, giving them more time to work closely with patients, he said. Automation decreases costs, reduces dispensing time and improve the quality and safety of prescriptions, he said.
“We’ve got to give our pharmacist the much needed time for patient care. They’re on the front lines right now. Almost all of you are going to see one to get your vaccinations.” Richardson said. “They can’t vaccinate you if they don’t have the time to do that. What we do is allow them the time to vaccinate and also do other patient saving services — COVID testing, medication therapy management and other services.”
A native Hoosier and graduate of Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy, Richardson said iA picked Indiana for its global headquarters because of the state’s low-tax pro-business environment, its history with the biopharma industry and diverse workforce.
The company is hiring for positions in pharmacy, software development, software engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, product management, help desk analytics, sales, information technology and human resources. Basic qualifications for the jobs vary, but include bachelor degrees and knowledge of SQL and databases.
Four executives have already purchased homes in Indiana, he said, also touting that recent hires include graduates of local universities such as Notre Dame and Ball State.
iA is expanding in other ways too. It has added Walgreens as a new partner. It also is providing automation to a Veterans Affairs mail-order facility in Charleston, South Carolina, that will fill 234,000 orders a day.
“We will be building two central fill locations for two pharmacy retailers, one of which is Walgreens, who is our partner, in the coming 24 months,” Richardson said.
The company will provide all the automation and integration equipment for the facilities which the retailers will own and operate.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, in a prepared statement, expressed support for the new company.
“With a thriving tech ecosystem and history of life sciences excellence, Indiana is the perfect place for companies like iA to establish its home base,” he said. “We’re excited iA has chosen to grow in Indiana and create hundreds of high-wage jobs for Hoosiers.”
Hogsett also said he supports the project.
“We’re excited to welcome hundreds of new jobs at iA’s new global headquarters, right here in Indianapolis,” the mayor said. “Today’s announcement is a testament to our city’s strong partnership with the state of Indiana, as well as to our business-friendly economic ecosystem, our high quality of life and our ability to attract and retain high-wage jobs.”
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