WESTBROOK (AP) – Biotechnology company Idexx Laboratories is eyeing an expansion, which could generate hundreds of new jobs, a city official said.

The company leases space where its 1,200 Westbrook employees work. It is considering expanding into space that will become vacant to relieve overcrowding, according to Jerre Bryant, Westbrook’s city manager. Idexx also leases at another business park, but would need more space for future expansion, he said.

Idexx, whose business focuses primarily on veterinary diagnostic products and services, has met with the city to discuss building options in the city, said Bryant. He said the company could spend more than $30 million on facilities and add up to 500 jobs.

“The good news is that Idexx is a healthy, growing company and is talking to us about growing right here in Westbrook,” Bryant said. Westbrook has been Idexx’ corporate headquarters since 1991.

Idexx confirmed that expansion plans are centered on Westbrook and that it was discussing plans with city and state economic development officials. The company said it hopes to make an announcement when plans are finalized.

Commissioner Jack Cashman of Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development said Idexx has been in contact with his office. Cashman also noted that Gov.John Baldacci encourages biotech and research and development companies to expand in Maine.

“These are 21st century jobs,” Cashman said. “They’re good paying jobs with benefits.”

Idexx has more than 3,000 employees and facilities around the United States and in Australia, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Net revenues for the three months ending in September increased by 18 percent, to $158.1 million, from $134.1 million during the same period in 2004.

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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