By Yadira Betances
When the leaders of NxStage Medical, Inc., began looking for a place to move their expanding business, they said they didn't consider leaving Lawrence.
Yesterday, state and local officials celebrated the fact the company, which has become a crown jewel in the state's Life Sciences Initiative, has kept its faith in a city which is in many ways downtrodden.
The company doubled its size from 58,000 square feet on the fourth and fifth floors at 439 S. Union St. to 137,000 square feet spread over seven floors at 350 Merrimack St. -- part of the Riverwalk Properties developed by local entrepreneur Sal Lupoli.
NxStage is a leader in manufacturing of home hemodialysis machines and one of the largest medical device manufacturers in Massachusetts, making portable dialysis machines.
It has been headquartered in Lawrence since its founding in 1998, and it signed an 11-year lease at Riverwalk. The new facility houses NxStage's corporate offices which include over 300 employees within research and development, sales and marketing, customer and technical support, among other functions, and is expected to accommodate the company's future growth.
Manufacturing is done in Mexico, Germany and Italy.
"NxStage has a long history and deep commitment to the city of Lawrence," Jeffrey H. Burbank, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NxStage Medical, said during yesterday's festivities.
"The city is optimally located for the majority of our employees who live in surrounding communities. The location enables us to recruit from high tech corridors in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire," Burbank said.
A special guest at yesterday's ceremony was Richard Sicurella of Winthrop, who was in need of dialysis due to a long ago football injury..
Three years ago, he learned about NxStage and its portable home hemodialysis machines.
"Being at home and in control of my treatment is what was important to me ...,"Sicurella said. "My wife and I can enjoy our retirement and spend time together...This therapy has changed my life."
NxStage received $1.3 million in 2010 as part of Gov. Deval Patrick's 10-year Life Science Initiative, to encourage growth among companies such as NxStage.
"Thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts continues to lead the world in life sciences," Patrick said.
"By committing to Lawrence, NxStage ensures the presence of good jobs and continued innovation in the years ahead...," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
Lupoli, president of Riverwalk Properties and Salvatore's Restaurant, said 12 other companies are expanding in the complex. They include Pentucket Medical Center building a 70,000 square feet pediatric care; Elder Services of Merrimack Valley creating a 10,000 square feet conference room and Enterprise Bank opening up a branch there.