RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A non-profit with a mission to reduce the price of prescription drugs is opening a testing facility in Chesterfield County as part of a national effort to produce low-cost generic medications.

Civica Inc’s announcement of the 55,000 square foot facility in Meadowville Technology Park followed news last year that the company planned a 140,000 square foot manufacturing plant for the nearby City of Petersburg.

“With this investment, Civica is building on its long-term commitment to patients – and to Virginia,” said Civica CEO Ned McCoy. “This lab will support a skilled and highly trained workforce who will ensure Civica’s affordable insulin as well as other essential medicines meet the highest standards.”

The new facilities in Petersburg and Chesterfield will drive Civica’s latest initiative: manufacturing cheap insulin. Though their formulation still needs FDA approval, Civica said they expect it to be priced significantly lower than insulin currently on the market – and production could begin as soon as 2024.

“Civica’s investment is another transformational step forward in strengthening the advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in the Richmond-Petersburg region and positioning Virginia as a key player in domestic drug manufacturing in America,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

8.4 million Americans regularly use insulin, and the price of the life-saving drug has skyrocketed in recent years – but not for everyone. In fact, studies show that Americans pay far more for insulin than citizens of any other developed country.

That’s in part because just three for-profit drug companies currently control the domestic supply of insulin, leading them to face accusations of price-fixing in 2021.

In addition to a $400,000 state grant to the county to assist with the project, Civica itself received a $27.8 million boost from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which the non-profit matched with its own funds, bringing the total investment to $56 million.

“This award is evidence that Virginia is leading the way in prescription drug manufacturing, helping make us less dependent on foreign manufacturers,” said Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

The facility also marks the latest project to arrive in Chesterfield’s Meadowville Technology Park, which was touted by the county as a high-tech employment hub. In the past two years, the technology park has also been the chosen location for a billion-dollar LEGO manufacturing plant and a 250,000 squarefoot data center.

“Chesterfield County is thrilled to have Civica’s new laboratory testing facility locate at the Meadowville Technology Park,” said Chesterfield Board of Supervisors Chairman Chris Winslow.

The projected is predicted to create 51 new jobs. Civica is also working with Brightpoint Community College to grant students certifications needed to work as a manufacturing technician in their Petersburg plant.