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A startup medicine manufacturer plans to invest about $31.1 million in opening a new facility in northwest Arkansas to produce lower-cost generic drugs, officials said Monday.

According to a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the newly created OurPharma plans to hire 10 to 12 new employees and expand to more than 100 employees within a seven-year period. Construction is slated to start in the winter on the 14.9-acre site in the Fayetteville Commercial Park.

"Our goals are to be a major generic drug company over the next decade and to provide affordable and much needed medications to the patients," OurPharma CEO Peter Kohler said in the release.

The company is reportedly planning four phases of development over the next 10 years, the first of which will focus on compounded medications needed in hospitals and clinics.

OurPharma then plans to focus on products such as insulin, which it says is too expensive for many diabetics in the area.

"Drug costs are an increasing concern, not just for Arkansans, but for citizens throughout the country," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the release.

The company said it hopes to collaborate with bioengineering departments, including the on at the University of Arkansas, to develop high-quality, cost-effective alternatives to devices such as the EpiPen.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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