A California-based air purifier company that got its start with University of South Florida research is returning to Florida via a manufacturing plant it will open west of Lakeland Linder Airport.

Molekule, founded in 2014, decided to consolidate its manufacturing in a single facility rather than using contractors around the country. When choosing a place to locate, it made sense to be near the USF research and development arm, co-founder Jaya Rao told The Tampa Bay Times.

In landing the new facility, the Central Florida Development Council and the Lakeland Economic Development Council partnered with both USF and Florida Polytechnic University, CFDC President Sean Malott said.

While primarily a manufacturing plant, the Lakeland facility will also serve the company’s R&D efforts, Malott said.

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Molekule’s purifiers, available on its webiste for $799, use a technology called photo electrochemical oxidation to remove pollutants at a molecular level. It was developed by Rao’s father, USF engineering professor Yogi Goswami.

Specific employment numbers aren’t available — Rao told The Times dozens would be employed at first with significant growth projected — but at least 10 are considered high-skill, high-wage workers under rules that helped Molekule land $50,000 in state and local Qualified Target Industry incentives.

Those 10 jobs will pay an average salary of $46,500 a year, Enterprise Florida said last year when the company applied for the incentives under the thinly veiled name Project Air Supply.

The application also said the company would spend at least $1 million improving the Lakeland building it will occupy.

The company, whose headquarters will remain in San Francisco, secured $25 million in funding late last year from The Foundary Group and other funders of high-tech ventures.

Learn more about the technology behind Molekule via the Tampa Bay Times.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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