R--D, test standards create additional need for updated plant

By Randall Turk

Transcript Business Editor

Construction has begun on a $3.2 million corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant for Bio-Cide International, Inc.

To occupy a 2.5-acre tract in Northport Industrial Park, the 28,000-square-foot plant will have state-of-the-art laboratories and manufacturing equipment occupying two-thirds of the space.

The corporate offices will include a research library, conference rooms and areas for product display, research, marketing and accounting. Completion is expected by mid-2007.

"We're out of space," said Bob Danner, president. Increasing business volume and higher standards for quality control created a need for an updated facility, he said.

The building, designed by Chickasha architect Philip Burk, will utilize precast tilt-up concrete walls and a precast concrete roof. The administrative portion will be of pre-finished metal panels, smooth split concrete block and glass. Construction manager is CMS Willowbrook Construction of Chickasha.

Bio-Cide International creates and distributes proprietary oxy-chlorine products to control bacteria and other microorganisms. The products are used in food processing, healthcare, environmental control equipment and other specialty applications. The company's products are tested and certified to meet government standards in the U.S. and abroad. Bio-Cide meets ISO 9000, the international standard of product quality.

"Everything we do has to be approved by the federal government," Danner said. Bio-Cide undergoes regular audits by the U.S. Food -- Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several pharmaceutical customers. Some other countries where Bio-Cide operates or seeks product approval have standards even stricter than the U.S. government's, he said.

Research and development is a major Bio-Cide function. The company develops and tests products in its own laboratories and in labs at several universities. Its products are sold to 14 countries through distributors and joint ventures.

"Last year was the 25th anniversary of Bio-Cide Japan," Danner said. "We invested 35 percent of the capital to build that company, but there are not enough Japanese government approvals for Bio-Cide to be a major company yet."

Government standards for germ control agents differ from country to country, Danner said. "For instance, the Japanese government doesn't accept U.S. requirements in food processing and water treatment. No new disinfectants have been introduced in Japan for 30 or 40 years."

Some Bio-Cide products are distributed in England, Spain, Ireland, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Brazil. Although Bio-Cide still has not received approval of the European Union, a Bio-Cide partner in Turkey "will sell some of the company's products in Europe and the Middle East," Danner said. "Our products are effective against bird flu."

He said Bio-Cide product tests, under government-approved lab conditions, are accepted if they meet the requirements of regulatory bodies in other countries. "But there's a political component. We've been waiting on approval for a couple of our products for years in Europe."

Bio-Cide markets its products to other manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies that use them as components in their own products. The company's customers combine Bio-Cide elements with other ingredients, package the products and market them under their own brand names.

For example, a Bio-Cide product is one component of "Refresh Tears," a trademarked over-the-counter wetting agent for contact lenses. Bio-Cide ingredients are in seven other ophthalmic products, Danner said.

Danner has operated Bio-Cide International in Norman since 1976. After receiving an engineering degree from Clemson University, he served as an Air Force officer on the Atlas missile program, America's first journey into space. He joined RCA Electronics, where for 10 years he worked on a secret program to build computers for the Saturn and Apollo missile programs.

Later, Danner was president and CEO of an electronics company in Irvine, Calif. In the early '70s, he bought the rights to develop oxy-chlorine disinfection products. Among major clients are Boeing, Douglas Aircraft, large food processing companies and pharmaceutical companies.

Bio-Cide International is a private corporation with 28 employees in Norman, consultants throughout the country and a worldwide distribution network. Danner said more employees will likely be needed at the new Norman facility.

Research, development and testing are primary reasons for Bio-Cide's new Norman headquarters, Danner said.

"We're a company that produces a proprietary specialty chemical," he said. "We're a research company. Anytime you claim your product kills germs and viruses, you have to be approved by regulators. You have to develop testing capabilities to prove it.

"This building represents a new future for us. It will get us to a new level."

Randall Turk 366-3547 rturk@normantranscript.com

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