Big year for biotechnology in North Carolina: nearly $ 4 billion in investment, more than 4,800 jobs in 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Even a second year of business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t slow North Carolina’s bioscience juggernaut in 2021.

Twenty major expansions, relocations or new facilities representing nearly $ 4 billion in investment and more than 4,800 jobs have been announced statewide, according to reports compiled by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

FUJIFILM’s hugely successful announcement of a $ 2 billion biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Holly Springs that will create 725 jobs with an average salary of just under $ 100,000 per year has led the way.

Once the initial phase is complete, the facility will be the largest end-to-end cell culture production plant in North America. It is also the largest investment in life sciences in the state’s four decades of growth.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB), a Morrisville-based subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corp. from Tokyo, will operate the new facility. FDB is a leading contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) company that provides services to pharmaceutical companies such as cell line and process development, stability testing, drug development and manufacture for clinical trials as well than the commercial manufacture of drugs.

North Carolina hires record jobs, $ 10 billion in investment in 2021

The company’s choice of location “once again shows that North Carolina is a world-class location for the industry’s most innovative biotech companies,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “Since FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies already operates a facility in our state, they are confident that this new facility will also succeed, thanks to skilled workers in North Carolina, our commitment to workforce training and to the growing strength of our life sciences industry cluster. “

The company said that when its new facility begins operations in the spring of 2025, it will manufacture large-scale cell cultures of bulk drug substances using eight 20,000-liter (5,283-gallon) bioreactors for the growth of mammalian cells. Plans for the site include the ability to expand and add up to 24 more of these bioreactors, depending on market demand.

In addition to the manufacture of drug substances, the facility will also provide commercial scale fully automated filling, finishing and assembly of a variety of syringes and equipment for automatic packaging and labeling.

“Identifying a place to implement a biofabrication project of this magnitude depends on the availability of highly qualified people, a first-rate business climate and a hyper-collaborative ecosystem, all within a strong cluster and diverse life sciences. And that place is North Carolina, ”said Bill Bullock, senior vice president of economic development and statewide operations at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, who provided technical and other support to the state recruiting team.

These and other winning attributes, including an affordable cost of living and good quality of life for employees, have spurred further new bioscience investments across the state in 2021:

  • Amgen, a California-based biopharmaceutical company that pioneered the use of recombinant DNA technology four decades ago, will build a $ 550 million manufacturing facility in Holly Springs. The facility will create 355 jobs from 2025 to 2029, for an average salary of $ 119,510.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global provider of products and services that support the life sciences, announced projects in three North Carolina cities that will collectively bring more than $ 350 million in investment and nearly 700 jobs. The company will build a new manufacturing facility in Mebane that will produce indispensable laboratory pipette tips for use in disease research and diagnostic testing, including COVID-19 testing. The $ 192 million investment will create 150 to 200 jobs. Thermo Fisher will also invest $ 154 million to expand its contract drug manufacturing facility in Greenville, creating 290 jobs, and expand its cold storage and laboratory equipment manufacturing facilities near Asheville, creating 200 jobs.
  • IQVIA, a global leader in health information technology and contract research, has opened a new 160,000 square foot laboratory at Research Triangle Park for its subsidiary Q2 Solutions, which provides clinical trial laboratory services under contract. The facility will create nearly 750 jobs over the next decade. The company has not publicly disclosed its investment in this facility.
  • Abzena, a global UK CDMO, will build a $ 213 million bioproduction plant in Sanford, creating 325 jobs. The site will primarily manufacture mammalian cell biologics for customers involved in phase 3 clinical trials and those already involved in commercial sales.
  • CARsgen Therapeutics, a Shanghai-based cancer immunotherapy innovator, will invest $ 157 million to establish a Durham site that will employ 200 people by the end of 2026 in the production of chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies (CAR-T ) for cancer.
  • Invitation, a San Francisco-based medical genetics testing company, will invest $ 114.6 million to bring its vast medical testing capacity to Morrisville, creating 374 jobs.
  • Biogenic, one of the world’s top 25 biopharmaceutical companies, will invest $ 200 million in a new facility at its Research Triangle Park (RTP) campus to support clinical production of its gene therapy pipeline. The expansion will add 90 jobs to its RTP workforce of approximately 1,900 people.
  • Jaguar gene therapy suburb of Chicago will invest $ 125.4 million and create 200 jobs between 2024 and 2028 at a new RTP manufacturing facility. The jobs will pay an average annual salary of $ 92,530.
  • Adverum Biotechnologies, a California-based gene therapy company, will build an $ 83 million manufacturing site in Durham, employing 202 workers.
  • Syngenta, the global agriculture giant, has decided to keep its North American crop protection headquarters in Greensboro, where it will invest $ 68 million to renovate aging laboratories and build a new office building to support its 650 employees and 100 contract workers.
  • Western Pharmaceutical Services, a manufacturer of packaging and drug delivery components, will invest $ 19 million and create 90 jobs to expand its production capacity in Kinston, where it employs 425 people.
  • Gilead Sciences, a California-based biopharmaceutical company, will invest up to $ 5 million to establish a 275-employee business service and information technology center in Wake County.
  • American Fuji Seal International, a subsidiary in Japan Fuji Seal International, will invest $ 52 million and create 101 jobs at a new plant in Hickory that will manufacture packaging materials for pharmaceuticals.
  • Cambrex Corp., a contract manufacturer of small molecule therapeutics with facilities in High Point and Durham, will invest $ 30 million and hire 78 additional employees to expand its production capabilities at High Point.
  • Raybow United States, a custom chemicals research and development company, will invest $ 15.8 million over the next five years to expand its corporate headquarters and R&D facilities in the town of Brevard, western North Carolina , adding 74 employees to its current workforce of 26.
  • Science 37, a clinical research and testing company with dual headquarters in Culver City, Calif., and Raleigh, will consolidate its headquarters in Morrisville, a $ 1.5 million investment that will create 250 jobs over the next few years.
  • EnviroVol, an alternative protein company based in northern Kentucky, will move its headquarters to Apex and set up a new research and development facility there. The 30,000 square foot center will create 30 to 40 new jobs dedicated to the production of protein from black soldier fly larvae as a sustainable additive to animal feed.

(C) NC Biotechnology Center

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