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April 4, 2013

Johnstown company joins Pa. trade mission

JOHNSTOWN — Gov. Tom Corbett will lead a Pennsylvania delegation on a 10-day South American trade mission this weekend.

A Johnstown company will join him.

ITSI-Biosciences will be among 19 companies joining state officials on the three-city, two-country trip aimed at fostering new partnerships and job growth – an opportunity the Napoleon Street company’s founder said will put ITSI one-on-one with

11 different firms in Brazil and Chile.

“This is big for us because we’ve been trying to get into that growing market, and this will give us an opportunity to have some high-profile meetings in those countries,” said President Richard Somiari, whose company provides analysis and other support for research labs and pharmaceutical firms.

The company, which  employs five full-time workers, also develops ready-to-use kits for biomedical research – products Somiari is hopeful will be appealing to the growing South American market.

A scanning system ITSI developed to identify autoimmune disorders is one example, he added.

“This could be a great opportunity to increase our manufacturing sector,” Somiari said. About 60 percent of ITSI’s business is already with countries outside the U.S. “and we hope to grow that.”

Corbett and state economic development leaders say the time is right for Pennsylvania to make inroads with Brazil and Chile.

In many ways, the countries’  economies are growing on the back of industries that are already major players in Pennsylvania, he said.

Mining, oil and gas  – a growing technology and life-science industry and continued agri-business are all vital, said Steven Kratz, Department of Community and Economic Development spokesman.

“We have technologies in those fields and established supply chains here that can help them,” he said.

The officials’ trip to South America, dubbed “Jobs First Mission” is being privately funded by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, state officials said.

The trip will include stops in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile, the country’s capital.

Corbett will meet Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, and two Brazilian governors during his travels, his office said.

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