Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor is famous for laboratory research mice, and Houlton will soon be known for producing their food.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration is awarding $1.6 million to the Southern Aroostook Development Corporation to help with construction of a 12,000- square foot manufacturing plant in Houlton.
Project consultant Doug Hazlett says plans for the $6 million facility came after discussions with the Jackson Lab, which needs a consistent source of high quality mouse food. He says the plant will be able to do small batch formula development and testing.
“So they will have the ability to apply research in developing new types of mouse diet to improve the breeding and weight gain characteristics of their mouse population,” he says.
Hazlett says it's hoped that, after the first few years, the new plant would also supply food to Jackson Lab customers.
“Shipped with their mice,” he says. “So the food consistency is going to be there for the customers that buy the mouse. That too is a very good opportunity. They ship over two- and- a- half- million mice a year, so it's quite sizeable.”
He says production is expected by the end of 2019. Creation of ten jobs is anticipated the first year.