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Supervisors Approve Expansion Lease for Accelerate Diagnostics

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz., July 9, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Pima County Board of Supervisors July 7 voted unanimously to approve a lease for an expansion of Accelerate Diagnostics (Nasdaq:AXDX) at the county's Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road.

The company develops diagnostic tests for the rapid identification and antibiotic susceptibility profiling of serious infections, which is particularly important to hospitals and others in the medical industry due to the growing risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The company will sign a two-year lease of the 3,800 square-foot Abrams Annex building just north of the Abrams Center. The company needs the space for manufacturing of key components of its test kits. It plans to expand the building by another 2,400 square feet.

Accelerate is a Pima County economic development success story.

Accelerate leased 15,000 square feet of the Abrams Center's fourth floor in 2012 in an economic development agreement brokered with the county through the Arizona Commerce Authority and TREO, the region's primary business attraction alliance. The company has since expanded three times to take up the entire fourth floor at Abrams, nearly 50,000 square feet.

There was a lot of competition for Accelerate and its breakthrough testing technology, but the company decided to move its operations and nine employees to Pima County from Denver after the county offered the growing diagnostics firm space in the county's public health center at below market lease rates and agreed to spend up to $1.4 million to construct laboratories and other office amenities. As part of the deal, the company guaranteed that it would employ at least 30 employees with average salaries of $70,000 over the course of the initial three-year lease.

Accelerate reached that milestone in its first 30 days at Abrams. As of December, with a year still to go on its initial lease, the company had 66 Tucson-based employees with an average salary in excess of $90,000.

"We couldn't be more pleased with our move to Pima County. The county administration and supervisors have been very supportive and the business community welcoming. This, combined with a strong pool of talent, and a world-class facility, made the decision to expand our operations here straightforward," said Lawrence Mehren, CEO of Accelerate Diagnostics.

The manufacturing expansion will add another 15 jobs with an average salary of $60,000 over the lease term and secures Accelerate's key manufacturing functions and associated job growth for the future.

"Recruiting and retaining bioscience and life science companies is a key priority of the county's Economic Development Plan," said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. "Accelerate's success will greatly aid the county's ability to attract other companies from the industry and provide high-wage research and manufacturing jobs for our region."

"I congratulate Accelerate on its incredible success and rapid growth. I'm proud of the county's partnership with the company and the role we've played in that success."

CONTACT: Chuck Huckelberry Pima County Administrator 520-724-8751 Chuck.Huckelberry@pima.govSource:Pima County