Biologics and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
North Carolina is home to one of the largest concentrations of biologics and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.
There are currently 80 biopharma manufacturing sites in North Carolina that are producing life-saving treatments. Companies from all over the world value the state's extensive community support and expertise in workforce development. N.C. is home to some of the largest biopharma companies in the world, as well as startup companies that are at the forefront of today's most innovative technologies.
We use the term “biopharma manufacturing” to describe the breadth of North Carolina's community. It encompasses biopharmaceutical and small-molecule pharmaceutical manufacturers as well as the manufacturers of industrial enzymes and R&D products.
NC: A Thriving Manufacturing Hub
North Carolina biopharma manufacturing sites produce an array of products, including small-molecule therapeutics, monoclonal antibodies, industrial enzymes, and vaccines. In recent years, N.C.'s biopharma manufacturing industry has expanded as novel technologies including cell- and gene-based therapies have moved from research laboratories to commercial manufacturing.
North Carolina is also home to more biological product manufacturing employees than any other state. N.C.'s statewide network of industry-driven workforce solutions provides students and companies with hands-on training in state-of-the-art facilities.
Biopharma Manufacturing Landscape in NC
Cell- and Gene-based Therapy Manufacturing
North Carolina has quickly established itself as a leading hub for cell- and gene-based therapies. As innovative approaches and curative therapies emerge and bring new hope to patients with rare diseases and cancer, North Carolina’s established life science ecosystem is well-positioned to move these life-changing therapies from idea to market.
The state’s cell- and gene-based therapy sector is supported by world-class research, a strong foundation in biopharma manufacturing, numerous resources, top talent, and an exceptional business climate.
Below are some companies across the state that are manufacturing cell and gene therapy products.
Sanford & Durham
Following Pfizer’s 2016 acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics, its gene therapy footprint in North Carolina has continued to grow. Pfizer began to build out gene therapy manufacturing capacity at its Sanford vaccine production site in 2017, and has since announced plans to invest another $500M and create 300 more new jobs to strengthen its gene therapy capabilities. Additionally, a 60,000-square-foot building will be renovated to house Pfizer’s Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product facility in Durham.
Precision BioSciences recently opened its production facility for in-house manufacturing of its unique technologies. The facility is the first in-house cGMP-compliant manufacturing facility in the U.S. dedicated to genome-edited, off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy products.
Industry Leaders Across the State
A career in biopharma manufacturing is rewarding. These well-paying jobs contribute to the creation of products that positively impact lives around the globe. As biopharma manufacturing companies continue to expand operations in North Carolina, the need to fill a variety of roles remains critical.
Below are a few training institutions across the state that specialize in biopharma manufacturing training.
Additional Learning Opportunities
Whether you are looking to jumpstart your career out of high school or a working professional seeking to update your skills, North Carolina has created a variety of opportunities to succeed in this sector.
The Biopharma Manufacturing Education Resources is a compilation of educational offerings across the state organized by education level and region.
BioNetwork is the N.C. Community College System’s life science training initiative that includes:
- BioWork Certificate Program - The BioWork certificate program is a 136-hour course that teaches the foundational skills needed to begin a career as a process technician for a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or chemical manufacturing company. Process technicians are responsible for the production of chemical and pharmaceutical products.
- Open enrollment and customized courses and workshops for incumbent employees and transitional workers
- Hands-on activities for students and professional development for K-14 teachers
- Capstone Center - Industry-grade tools and a certified cleanroom suite mirror a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The Capstone Center is located in the Golden LEAF BTEC building on NC State's Centennial campus in Raleigh.
Biomanufacturing Technology & Education Center (BTEC) at North Carolina State University uses the latest biomanufacturing technologies to provide hands-on learning opportunities including:
- Undergraduate minor, Professional Science Master’s degrees, and both undergraduate- and graduate-level certificates
- Open enrollment and customized short courses for industry professionals
- Contract bioprocess and analytical services
Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at North Carolina Central University provides hands-on learning opportunities including:
- Undergraduate and graduate degree programs
- Internship and on-campus research experiences
- Outreach and community programs for students and teachers
The National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce is a Forsyth Technical Community College and NC Community College System program that prepares workers for in-demand jobs in advanced technologies to help maintain U.S. competitiveness in a global economy.
The North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network (PSN) is a collaboration between East Carolina University and Pitt Community College providing a continuum of training including:
- Oral Solid Dose short course for students and new and incumbent pharma employees
- Graduate level GMP courses
- Analytical services for government, academia, and industry
NCBioImpact combines the resources of North Carolina's university and community college systems to meet the growing demands of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The training programs partner closely with NCBiotech, NCBIO, the Department of Commerce and industry to form a unique academic, industry and government collaborative.
BPD’s mission is to provide a forum for process development and manufacturing scientists and engineers to discuss bioprocessing issues. The group meets approximately eight to ten times a year with speakers from academia, industry, technology vendor experts, and regulatory experts. This is one of the 20-plus Exchange Groups that are supported statewide by NCBiotech.
The BioPharma Crescent is a five-county region located in Eastern North Carolina, about halfway between Raleigh and the Atlantic Ocean. The region is home to major biopharma manufacturers such as Grifols, Novo Nordisk, ThermoFisher Scientific, Pfizer and more. Colleges, universities, and a biopharma-specific training network provides local businesses with a highly educated and well-trained workforce.
The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate biopharmaceutical innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and educate and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, fundamentally advancing U.S. competitiveness in this industry.
NCBIO is the trade association for North Carolina’s life science industry. Members include companies and research institutions working in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, clinical research and agricultural biotechnology sectors, as well as firms and nonprofits that provide support services to life science companies.
NCBIO coordinates regular meetings of the Biotech Manufacturers Forum (BMF) to help late-clinical and commercial-phase biopharma manufacturing companies and related firms, including vendors and service providers, share information and address common concerns.
NCABR plays a leading role in North Carolina and the nation by providing objective, timely and authoritative information to students, educators, government representatives, the media, members of the research community and the general public.
Looking for more info?
Download these materials for more information about North Carolina's biopharma manufacturing sector and related workforce initiatives.
Overview of Biomanufacturing in North Carolina
Window on the Workplace 2020
Durham Biopharma Career Pathways
Four lucky Durham Technical Community College students will soon pioneer a bold new apprenticeship program with Durham-based KBI Biopharma designed to groom more workers for pharmaceutical manufacturing.