APEX — A newly constructed facility will house EnviroFlight, a wholly owned division of Darling Ingredients, including the company’s research and development facility and its corporate offices, starting with between 30 and 40 employees.

The company, which focuses on agricultural technology and agriculture research, plans to use the new facility along Production Drive in Apex to expand its knowledge base for alternative uses of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) in animal health, animal nutrition, and other product development, it said in a statement released last week.

The company produces BSFL on a commercial scale, and its first manufacturing plant is based in Kentucky, with the current corporate center and research and development facility in Ohio.

The company already has ties to the Triangle, as its president, Dr. Liz Koutsos, is also an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University, and the company’s regulatory safety trials were completed at NC State as well.

“We are excited to invest in a new R&D and Corporate Center in Apex NC, and join the robust Triangle Region AgTech community,” said Koutsos in a statement. “This new facility will allow us to continue to develop technology that leverages the potential of this amazing insect and facilitate our growth in the alternative protein industry.”

“We chose Apex because of the talent in the area and the focus on agtech coming out of the Research Triangle,” said Carrie Kuball, a spokesperson for the company, in an interview.  The company considered the greater Cincinnati region and parts of northern Kentucky for the facilities, ultimately selecting Apex.

According to Kuball, there is an economic development package in play, around $9 million, and the developer of the facility will be the MacKenan Group.  Part of the funds will be received by MacKenan, and there are also incentives provided by the Town of Apex.

The facility won’t be complete until the spring of 2022, and the company will likely move some of its current team to the new facility once complete, as well as hire for additional roles once the facility is nearing completion.

The company works with feed manufacturers, and Kuball said that makes the company distinctive, as the members of the team typically have a background in animal nutrition and are focused on product development that is both innovative and responsible.  The approach, said the company in its statement, will provide an environmentally-friendly, sustainable source of high-value nutrients.