Seed company DuPont Pioneer is expanding its campus in Johnston with a new $40 million facility for research and safety assessments.

Named after early DNA researcher Francis Crick, the Crick Research Center will house about 400 employees. The facility consolidates and expands the DuPont Pioneer’s research and development goals, according to Iowa Business Director Bart Baudler.

“In the last five years, we’ve doubled our research and development spend to where currently, we’re spending about a billion dollars a year, just in the ag platform, on research and development,” says Baudler. “So we’re taking a lot of groups that were housed in various buildings and bringing them together here in the Crick facility, and then adding new employees as we expand that commitment to research and development.”

Research at the facility will focus in part on developing biotech products, which Baudler says is directly to the benefit of Iowan farmers.

“In the state of Iowa alone,” he explains, “we’ve got over 1,300 GrowingPoint Agronomy trials where we take these new, innovative products and test them locally, so we know how they perform under you know, local, farmer conditions, so we can recommend the right product for the right acre for our Iowa customers.”

Food, feed and environmental safety assessments will also be a large sector of research conducted at the Crick Research Center. Data generated from those assessments will be provided to regulatory agencies around the world that make decisions on market access for Pioneer products. The company estimates a time frame of 4-5 years can see between 120-150 regulatory studies conducted.

Also making headlines from the grand opening, Governor Terry Branstad collapsed during remarks, and was taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. According to spokesman Jimmy Centers, Branstad was alert and conscious, and his condition appears to have been caused by seasonal illness. Branstad was kept at the hospital overnight.