Labcon leases Petaluma facility to Synergy Health

PETALUMA -- Labcon, a manufacturer of disposable laboratory equipment based in Petaluma, plans to lease a 31,000-square-foot building to Synergy Health, which provides electron-beam sterilization services to health organizations.

The building, located on a 10-acre site Labcon owns at 3200 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma, will be part of a campus envisioned for medically related companies, said Jim Happ, president of Labcon. Now the property has two buildings totaling 71,000 square feet. A new building will add 40,000 square feet for warehousing.

Labcon, which has 220 employees in Petaluma and revenue of $34 million, also has a 127,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at 3700 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma, about half a mile away.

Synergy Health, based in Swindon, England, about 100 miles west of London, has worldwide operations in several continents, and overall revenue of about $650 million. The company grew more than 5 percent in the past year. In the Americas, Synergy has four plants in the United States, including one in San Diego, and another in Costa Rica, with some 150 employees total. Petaluma’s plant would employ about 20 people.

Synergy Health plans to employ electron beam sterilization technology. The process involves accelerating electrons in an electron gun and beaming them through boxes on a carrier.

Labcon is a wholly owned subsidiary of Helena Laboratories, with headquarters in Beaumont, Texas. Labcon makes pipettes and many other laboratory supplies, using polypropylene and other materials. In recent years, Labcon has pushed for sustainable packaging and practices, as well as recycling of some products. The company was founded in 1959 in Marin County.

In typical electron beam applications, a magnetic optical system is used to control the way the electron beam hits its target.

“It’s a lot cleaner than steam” sterilization techniques, Mr. Happ said, and is done without water. “It’s way cleaner and safer,” he said.

Before the Synergy Health facility is operational, the company will need about $6 million of improvements, Mr. Happ said. Another $5 million worth of site improvements will be needed, with expected completion in about July 2015.

Mr. Happ is hoping the new facility will be welcomed by the city of Petaluma. "It will be really cool,” he said.

Sterilization facilities in Petaluma could help many companies and health organizations in the county that now have to send equipment out of the county to be sterilized. "As far as sterilization, Medtronic could use us," Mr. Happ said. Medtronic, with an office in Santa Rosa, offers medical therapies for diabetes, cardiac and vascular diseases, and neurological and musculoskeletal conditions.

Also on the site is PRS Stainless, which makes commercial dishwashing equipment. Another space is available, with no tenant yet, that has 10,000 square feet.


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