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Indian Generic Drug Maker Plans $32M Durham HQ

Global generic drug maker Aurobindo Pharma USA said today it will invest over $31.7 million to establish a new national headquarters in Durham that will  bring 275 new R&D and pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the Triangle.

New Jersey-based Aurobindo Pharma USA, the American arm of the publicly traded Indian parent Aurobindo Pharma Limited, said it already employs 14 scientists/workers in Raleigh. Among the new employees coming to the Durham site will be researchers, analytical chemists, production operators, quality control specialists and others.

Aurobindo would not disclose where the new facility would be located in Durham County, whether it would be a new site or a renovation of an existing facility, when construction would begin and end, and declined a request for a rendering of the new facility. A spokeswoman at the New Jersey headquarters said the company has a policy of refusing to speak to media, and any public information about the company would be initiated by Aurobindo executive leadership.

The news release announcing the project did say, however, that it will create a $17.1 million "annual payroll impact" for Durham and surrounding counties.

Triangle Business Journal quoted Ted Connor, senior vice president of economic development for the Durham Chamber of Commerce, saying Aurobindo executives are negotiating a deal to take over a former Teleflex Medical facility at 2917 Weck Drive, near Research Triangle Park.

Company founded 30 years ago

Aurobindo Pharma Limited was founded in Hyderabad, India, in 1986. It makes semi-synthetic penicillin and other therapeutics for the neuroscience, cardiovascular, infectious disease, diabetes, and gastroenterology markets. In 2015, Forbes Asia named Aurobindo Pharma to its “Fabulous 50” list. The company employs 15,500 worldwide.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is among numerous public and private organizations involved in Aurobindo’s decision to bring the expansion in North Carolina. NCBiotech was joined by the state Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of NC as well as the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Durham Technical Community College, Durham County, the City of Durham and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

“We welcome the decision by Aurobindo Pharma to undertake this significant expansion in the Research Triangle,” said Governor Pat McCrory in a news release. “Our state is eager to partner with this global company as it embarks on its business objectives and grows its presence in North Carolina’s life sciences community.”

Commerce Secretary John Skvarla agreed. “North Carolina welcomes another international name to its bio-pharma industry,” he said. “Aurobindo Pharma has found a new home in North Carolina, the nation’s number-one destination for biomanufacturing jobs.”

Drawn to NC's leading pharma workforce

Ninad Deshpanday, Ph.D., president, R&D, Aurobindo Pharma USA, cited the state’s trained workforce as a key contributor to the company’s decision. “North Carolina has one of the best talent pools in the specialty pharma R&D and manufacturing sectors, and we look forward to establishing a large and successful footprint here,” he said.
The company’s North Carolina expansion will be facilitated, in part, by an award from the state’s Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, which was approved earlier today by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Under the terms of the company’s JDIG, Aurobindo Pharma USA is eligible to receive up to $3.8 million in total reimbursements. Payments will occur in annual installments over 12 years pending verification by NC Commerce and NC Revenue that the company has met incremental job creation and investment targets.

JDIGs reimburse new and expanding companies a portion of the newly created tax-base with the goal of increasing the overall tax benefit to the State of North Carolina. This JDIG is contingent upon the approval of an appropriate match by local governments or organizations.

By law, JDIG-supported projects must result in a net revenue inflow to the state treasury over the life of the award. For projects in Tier 3 counties such as Durham County, 25 percent of the award amount is directed to the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account to help finance economic infrastructure in less populated Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. Aurobindo Pharma USA’s North Carolina expansion could provide as much as $1.2 million in new funds for the Utility Account. More information on county tier designations may be found on the Commerce website.

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