HATTIESBURG — RSDecon recently hosted an open house of its patented Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) that is produced at the University of Southern Mississippi’s materials science laboratory and business incubator, The Accelerator.
RSDecon is a subsidiary of Bracco Diagnostics’ Healthcare Protective Products Division (HPPD).
“I can tell you that one of the major selling points to us when looking for a manufacturing facility was that the university had a strong desire to have us here,” said Tim Henry, vice president and general manager of Bracco HPPD. “And they’ve also demonstrated to us the ability to make things happen, to knock down walls that might otherwise stand in the way of progress.”
Headquartered in Princeton, N.J., RSDecon became an Accelerator tenant in the fall of 2010 and began production shortly thereafter of its decontamination lotion that neutralizes chemical warfare agents. A soldier exposed to potentially toxic agents will realize significantly reduced effects by applying the lotion directly to the skin.
The product features a postcard-sized packet with a sponge that contains RSDL. Henry pointed out that the lotion is easily removed with water, and packets remain viable for four to five years. Currently, the company is producing approximately 700,000 packets a month — worth an estimated $120 million per year -— at the Accelerator facility.
Among the notable clients enlisted by RSDecon are the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Secret Service, New York Fire Department, Chicago Fire Department and various NATO member countries.
The open house included a tour of the RSDecon facility where employees work alongside a robotic production line. Initially, 10 people were hired for the operation but discussions are ongoing between HPPD and Southern Miss to develop additional products, which could lead to more employment opportunities.
“We make no bones about the fact that we are constantly recruiting companies like Bracco that are global leaders in developing products that make the world a safer place,” said Chad Driskell, executive assistant to the president at Southern Miss. “We want them to prosper and grow and hopefully make long-term commitments to the Hattiesburg business community.”