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Aerospace and Defense

UA Board of Trustees approves sale of Southern Research engineering division

The University of Alabama board of trustees approved the sale of Southern Research’s engineering division to an established aerospace defense company.

The University of Alabama's main campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved the sale of Southern Research’s engineering division to an established aerospace defense company. This transaction will accelerate job growth in Alabama’s defense and life science sectors.

From the defense perspective, Kratos (Nasdaq: KTOS) has more than 4,000 employees nationwide and intends to make Birmingham its hub for innovation, research, and development.

All current employees of the Southern Research engineering division will be offered jobs by the new company, Kratos SRE, which will make substantial investments at the site and create 150 additional jobs over the next 10 years.  

Southern Research will use the proceeds from this transaction to expand its capabilities with state-of the-art equipment and invest in talent to fill its new research building.

Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research, said the sale benefits Birmingham and Alabama in multiple ways – accelerating growth of the engineering division and freeing up resources that will be needed to staff a new biotech center Southern Research has planned for its Birmingham campus.

“This is a win-win for Southern Research and for our Engineering Division,” Carpenter said. “The work our engineering team performs is consequential to our nation’s security, and this partnership will enable them to grow jobs in Alabama and enhance America’s defense capacity.”

The sale also allows Southern Research to concentrate its efforts and investments in areas that will make Alabama a national center for excellence in research related to infectious and chronic diseases.

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“With support of our state and local leaders, we are laying the groundwork for this expansion by building a new biotech facility that will greatly increase our lab space,” Carpenter said. “This transaction enables us to hire the talent and secure the equipment to fill that new space, making us a national center of excellence in biomedical research and development.”

The transaction will generate $80 million for Southern Research to support 350 additional permanent jobs with the new biotech center, dramatically increasing the organization’s economic impact as well as its potential for breakthrough scientific discoveries.

“Our strategic vision for this new facility will build on our substantial success in life sciences and support Birmingham’s continued growth as a leader in the biomedical industry, especially in partnership with UAB,” Carpenter said. “This was an important strategic step that we have been working on for a long time. We truly have an opportunity to create an exceptional biotech corridor that will fuel Alabama’s economy for future generations, and that is our goal.”

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