Chesterton Tribune

 

 

EasyDial breaks ground for high tech medical plant in Chesterton; 100 jobs

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By KEVIN NEVERS

It’s the first in-fill development of an industrially zoned site in the Town of Chesterton in memory.

When the manufacturing facility is completed and in full operation, by 2020, up to 100 new jobs will have been created.

Yet the real story is the product: a truly portable hemodialysis machine dubbed The Dharma which company officers believe will revolutionize the dialysis industry and enormously improve the quality of life of the 600,000 Americans who, at any given time, are receiving some form of dialysis treatment.

On Saturday, the California-based company EasyDial LLC broke ceremonial ground on its 42,000-square foot facility, to be constructed on an eight-acre parcel in an I-1 zone at 229 Locust St., immediately south of the CSX line.

General contractor: Berglund Construction of Chesterton.

Project value: $21 million.

Estimated number of Dharma units to be produced by 2020: 1.3 million.

For Chesterton Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th--and EasyDial’s facility and project manager--the project is not simply on the cutting edge of medical technology. In particular the manufacturing facility will mesh perfectly with the town’s vision for clean life-sciences based industrial development. “It fits into Chesterton’s high-tech and smart-growth philosophy,” DeLaney said. “It’s strategically placed in the center of town. And it will yield sustainable economic-development benefits.”

EasyDial is coming to Chesterton, moreover, with the State of Indiana’s full blessing, including up to $1 million in tax credits, contingent on the company’s plans to hire 96 Hoosiers by 2020. “We are excited and pleased to partner with EasyDial,” said Matt Saltonovitz, director of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Northwest Regional Office. “It’s a fantastic project.”

“Indiana’s life-sciences industry provides high-skill, high-wage jobs for tens of thousands of hard-working Hoosiers,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement released separately on Saturday. “We are thrilled that life-sciences companies continue to choose Indiana over the global competition. We welcome EasyDial to the Indiana family and look forward to watching them thrive in our state’s great ecosystem for business.”

Also on hand at Saturday’s groundbreaking: State Rep. and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan, who proved equally enthusiastic about the project. “We want to congratulate the Town of Chesterton, one of the most innovative and finest communities in the State of Indiana,” Pelath said. “This is a place where things happen, with one of the finest qualities of life the Hoosier State has to offer.”

“Private-sector innovation is the next step in healthcare,” Pelath noted. “We need places for people to work at good wages, in jobs that have real value for their friends and neighbors. Indiana is an engine not just for manufacturing, not just for economic growth, but for quality of life.”

EasyDial CEO

Renato Giordano

For EasyDial CEO Renato Giordano--Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Lieutenant General (ret.) in the Italian Air Force, and for many year’s NATO’s GPS liaison in the U.S.--the Dharma is the fruit of a dream which goes back 40 years, when he himself was forced to undergo a 12-month course of dialysis following an illness. “Three days a week,” he said. “Six hours each time. There was transportation back and forth. And there was the psychological side: family, work, all was impacted by my dialysis.”

Forty years later, Giordano said, the $43-billion dialysis industry and its technology haven’t changed at all. “It’s still a refrigerator-sized machine” every bit as portable as a refrigerator. “We decided to think in a different way, in a more patient-oriented way, not business-oriented.”

Initially development of the Dharma was self-funded by Giordano and his fellow investors--“We put our own money into it, our pension funds,” he noted--until EasyDial obtained the sponsorship of the University of Southern California and a full collaboration with Fiat in Italy, where a 30,000-square foot facility is currently being constructed to serve the need in Europe.

EasyDial’s Chief Technical Officer, Chesterton resident Rodney Corder, for his part calls the Dharma nothing short of a paradigm shift in hemodialysis. “We started with the patient in mind,” he said. “Our mission is to give patients back the control of their own lives, so they can choose when and where they have treatments. They’ll be able to go on a week’s vacation and never have to visit a clinic.”

But the Dharma will prove a boon in other ways as well, Corder predicted. Because it needs only four liters of water to operate, not the 80 to 120 liters required by the full-size machine, the Dharma will bring dialysis to remote areas of the U.S. underserved by clinics; to “resource-constrained developing countries” around the world; and to battlefields where immediate and emergency dialysis would otherwise prove impossible.

The Dharma--about the size of a small suitcase--is still undergoing clinical trials and is scheduled for its first public exhibition at the American Society of Nephrology’s National Kidney Week conference in New Orleans Oct. 31-Nov. 5.

 

 

Posted 5/22/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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