ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

Heska doubles work force

One of Fort Collins’ star companies is quietly, but quickly, growing.

Heska Corp., formerly Paravax, has added two buildings to its campus in the Prospect East Business Park and more than doubled its employees in the past year.
Additionally, many of the company’s veterinary products for companion animals have passed the research and development stage and are ready for market.
Now occupying a total of four buildings in a business park developed by The W.W. Reynolds Cos., Heska has a total of 62,000 square feet. By next spring, that figure will jump to 74,000 square feet as more space is occupied. A fifth building which houses “flea world,” the research area for flea-caused diseases in dogs and cats, may be consolidated to the main campus, as well.
“We’re hoping that will hold us through 1997,´ said Monique Greer, director of marketing communications for Heska.
The fast-paced growth is accompanied by leaps in the personnel ranks, too.
Heska now has more than 200 employees. Earlier this year, there were fewer than 100 people working for the company.
“We are attracting people from all over the country,” Greer said. “It’s been a huge growth.”
Through the early part of this year, Heska primarily was conducting research and development. Now that the products are gaining governmental approval, growth has been fueled by the natural shift to bring them to market.
Items sold domestically now may reach an international market in the next year or two, Greer said.
Heska, the only biotech company in the world devoted solely to developing new veterinary products for companion animals, is bringing a number of products to market. Among them:
n The world’s first vaccine to prevent heartworm in dogs and cats.
n The world’s first flea-control vaccine for dogs and cats.
n A spectrum of products aimed at prevention and treatment of flea allergy dermatitis. Included is a vaccine and diagnostic products for flea allergy dermatitis caused by the bite of a flea.
n The world’s first vaccine for toxoplasmosis, a cat-borne parasite that can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
n A feline vaccine for cat-scratch fever, a disease that can have serious consequences for the elderly, infants and those with immuno-depressant illnesses.
Other products are being developed in conjunction with companies including Atrix Laboratories of Fort Collins. Also in the works is a vaccine for equine flu as well as vaccines for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
A tremendous amount of research and development has been conducted in collaboration with Colorado State University. Company founder Dr. Robert Grieve, who now is its chief science officer, spun the company off of CSU. And many people currently associated with Heska either came from the university or share their knowledge with it through teaching positions.
Grieve’s former department head, Glade Weiser, even recently joined Heska. The company’s chief executive officer is Fred Schwarzer.
“They have been a delight to work with,´ said Jim Brown, assistant vice president for research at CSU. “What they do just fits in with the research at CSU.
“They are very good to work with,” he added. “They are up-front and very forward-looking.
“They are one of the more prominent spinoffs in recent memory,” Brown said.
Heska also has provided financial support for projects at CSU.
The company itself does not release financials. Its primary funding has come from venture capital companies led by Charter Ventures of Palo Alto, Calif.
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One of Fort Collins’ star companies is quietly, but quickly, growing.

Heska Corp., formerly Paravax, has added two buildings to its campus in the Prospect East Business Park and more than doubled its employees in the past year.
Additionally, many of the company’s veterinary products for companion animals have passed the research and development stage and are ready for market.
Now occupying a total of four buildings in a business park developed by The W.W. Reynolds Cos., Heska has a total of 62,000 square feet. By next spring, that figure will jump to 74,000 square feet as more space is occupied.…

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