A California health care technology firm is weighing whether to bring 902 jobs in Denver or grow at its current headquarters in San Francisco as it brings an innovative treatment for diabetes to market.
In a trial run, the company signed a temporary lease in Denver for a technology office to test how hard or easy it is to attract talent in Colorado versus California. The “remote-first” company currently employs 392 people, including 106 who are now located in the state.
The company has developed a clinically proven treatment that treats diabetes without invasive surgery or procedures, Mike Landes, a senior business development manager with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade told the Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday morning.
To help sway the decision, the EDC offered the firm, which was given the codename Project Chamomile, $6.95 million in job growth incentive tax credits on Thursday morning. The credits provide a rebate against future state payroll taxes linked to the creation of 902 net new jobs within an eight-year period. OEDIT staff and a team from metro Denver recently met with the company’s CEO in San Francisco to encourage a move to Denver.
Positions include engineers, researchers, sales staff, account managers and clinicians. They will pay an average annual wage of $133,221, which is 177% higher than Denver County’s average annual wage.
DaVita’s decision to move from El Segundo, Calif., to Denver in 2009 put the metro area on the map when it came to dialysis treatment. DaVita at the time had 1,400 kidney care centers and now has more than 2,600 and 55,000 U.S. employees.
About two in 1,000 Americans have severe kidney disease and need dialysis or a transplant to survive. By contrast, one in 10 American adults has diabetes and one in three are pre-diabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the country and costs $327 billion a year to treat.
A green energy firm based in Australia, called Project Outback, is also looking at Jefferson County for a global technology hub. Hydrogen, which creates water when it is burned as a fuel, is considered a potential alternative to replace fossil fuels, especially in transportation. But many of the methods now used to create hydrogen are energy-intensive.
Project Outback has set a goal of creating 15 million tons a year of green hydrogen with a zero-carbon impact by 2030. Colorado will be a key part of making that happen if the company chooses the state over California and Michigan for its U.S. hub.
The EDC awarded the company just shy of $2 million in job growth incentive tax credits in return for creating 155 net new jobs. Those jobs, which will initially consist of research and development positions, are expected to pay an average annual wage of $104,604 a year.
A representative of the company said the plan is to move from research to manufacturing and then project development. Clean energy expertise at area universities and the presence of National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden were draws, as well as a push by the inter-mountain region to become a hub for hydrogen innovation and development.
“It really is a value proposition around green hydrogen,” the company’s chief technology officer told the commission.
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