Alltech Algae in Winchester is closing, effective immediately.
Susanna Elliott, a spokesman for the Nicholasville-based biotechnology company, said in a news release that the plant “has served as a pilot plant for industry-changing innovations in animal nutrition that we plan to continue to drive forward.
“However, with our continued commitment to operational excellence and efficiency, we feel the need to move to a more flexible, less constrained production arrangement for algae. As such we are ceasing production at the Alltech Algae facility in Winchester.”
The decision “has no commercial impact” because Alltech will continue producing algae somewhere else, Elliott said. The plant’s employees will be provided “with a platform for successful transition into new roles either at Alltech or elsewhere,” the news release stated.
Todd Denham, director of the Winchester Industrial Development Authority, said he got news of the closing via a phone call Friday morning. Winchester mayor Ed Burtner also received a call from Alltech, he said.
The algae plant employed 75 to 80 people at its peak, Elliott said.
Alltech has recently begun to downsize at the plant, Denham said. Because the building is “not a typical industrial building,” Denham said he is confident that his organization can “put in another unique industry in there to offset the job losses.”
Alltech bought the building from Martek Biosciences Corp. for $14 million. When the plant launched in 2011, Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, said that algae had the potential to help solve some of the biggest world problems including hunger, energy and climate change.
He also said that the algae operation run by Alltech, a Nicholasville biotechnology company, would be one of the world’s largest.
Most of the algae was to be used to create new product lines for Alltech’s primary business of animal nutritional supplements.