Melville site eyed by Florida biotech company

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A small biotechnology business is considering moving its headquarters and laboratory from Florida to Melville.

BioRestorative Therapies Inc. has been offered $116,948 in tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to make the move. The public company has developed treatments for severe back pain, diabetes and obesity and skin problems using human stem cells.

BioRestorative is considering whether to rent 7,000 square feet of space at 320 South Service Rd. in Melville. It currently occupies 249 square feet in Jupiter, Fla.

The proposed expansion would cost $805,000.

Anthony Manetta, former executive director of the IDA, said Friday BioRestorative's chief executive lives on Long Island and "is excited to move the company close to research institutions such as Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory."

Much of the tax savings would come from a $69,510 break on property taxes over five years.

Mark Weinreb, chief executive of BioRestorative since 2010, declined Friday to answer questions, saying the company was "still early in the process" of deciding where to go.

He told IDA officials that BioRestorative employs himself and two others, with salaries averaging $236,000 per year. He hopes to add 13 people over the next two years.

Last month, the company won contracts, totaling up to $1 million, from giant drugmakers Pfizer Inc. and Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. for research into stem cells.

BioRestorative lost $5.8 million last year, and Weinreb reduced his salary by nearly half to $360,000 and declined a $300,000 bonus, according to securities filings.

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BioRestorative's stock closed Friday at 43 cents on the OTC Bulletin Board.

Weinreb, 61, is best known for starting Big City Bagels Inc. of Hicksville, a small national chain of bagel stores that eventually merged with an Internet service provider. He then ran NeoStem, a Manhattan-based company that charged a $7,500 fee to freeze and store human stem cells for donors.

Earlier, Weinreb worked at Bio Health Laboratories Inc., a testing service for doctors and hospitals, where he became an owner and chief operating officer in the 1980s.

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