Metrics, a provider of contract services for pharmaceutical firms, is moving into new lab space as part of an $18 million expansion plan.

Metrics opened four analytical labs this week, increasing the facility’s lab capacity by 40 percent. They are expected to receive validation and open for project work in the second quarter of this year.

The labs are part of an $18 million expansion that will double the overall size of the facility. The building currently offers 44,000 square feet of space for pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and storage. Metrics also offers a microbiology lab and a dedicated lab for potent compound work.

In September 2006, Metrics announced the expansion plan, which will include 77 new jobs. The company employed 250 people at the time. It received a $150,000 One North Carolina Fund grant as part of an incentives package. Such grants require a local match.

"We have been operating at capacity at Metrics for some time now, so our employees are delighted to have more room in which to work," said Phil Hodges, the company’s president. "We are especially glad that we can offer our clients the greater capacity they want and need."