Company is mum on ruling

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2003

&uot;I look at Natural Biologics as an innovator. There’s a lot for potential for growth,&uot; Doug Clymer, a chemist for Natural Biologics, told the Albert Lea Tribune in 1997, when the company started production.

But according to a court decision made Monday, that may not be the case. The company was ordered to destroy all supplies of a generic version of the drug Premarin after a federal court agreed that they unlawfully obtained information on producing the drug. The business employed around 25 people, many with jobs that require college degrees.

There were 16 cars in their parking lot on Wednesday afternoon and several on Thursday. It’s not clear how much longer cars will be there and whether the business will shut down.

Email newsletter signup

At this point, no one seems to be talking. A receptionist at Natural Biologics, speaking on behalf of the company, said no one would comment, but she suggested there might be a comment at a later time.

Their law firm, Briggs and Morgan in Minneapolis, did not return phone calls for two days. A Minneapolis Star Tribune article said the company intends to appeal the decision.

The company started in 1993 but didn’t begin producing until 1997. The receptionist at Natural Biologics said they hadn’t gotten the FDA approval yet.

Curt Schoenrock, service programs specialist for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said while he hopes that business will win its appeal, the possibility of the company shutting down is unfortunate, Schoenrock said.

Having such jobs available is particularly appealing to a town.

&uot;There’s always kind of that image that technical jobs are better jobs. Higher-paying jobs bring more skilled people,&uot; he said. He cited the excitement when Naeve Hospital expanded into the Albert Lea Medical Center.

&uot;We see increases in technology all around us, and if we have technical jobs, it means we’re moving forward,&uot; he said.

He said that although Natural Biologics had relatively few of these jobs, the potential for expansion over the years could have offered more jobs.

Schoenrock said he expects that most of the technical employees will have to leave the city in order to find work in their field if the company shuts down. But he suspects that many of them came from other areas anyway.

(Contact Tim Sturrock at tim.sturrock or 379-3438.)