Life Science in Southeastern North Carolina

Many people know southeastern North Carolina for its gorgeous ocean surf, culture and abundant recreational activities.

The region is also home to an impressive clinical research industry cluster, strong assets for marine biotechnology commercialization, and significant industrial biotechnology opportunities.

Wilmington-based PPD anchors an impressive regional cluster of more than 30 CROs and 60+ support companies. The roster ranges from small entrepreneurial ventures to large multi-national corporate leaders. Major CROs here include Alcami, Quality Chemical Laboratories, Quintiles, INC Research, Modoc Research, Chiltern, Novella Clinical, Wilmington Pharmaceuticals.

The Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation, located in Wilmington, drives technology commercialization in partnership with numerous university and government outposts along the coast. Unique ideas have emerged for developing this sector, including UNC Wilmington’s Business of Biotechnology.

And the biorenewables and bioenergy industries are expanding here with local companies, such as Carbon Cycle Energy and OptimaKV that convert waste to useful products, such as energy, as well as BioChemtex, a company with plans to use energy grasses for cellulosic ethanol production.

The Southeastern Office leads economic development efforts to strengthen and grow these and other biotech subsectors throughout the region.

Randall Johnson
Executive Director
Southeast Office

Life Science Assets

Life Science Assets

Powering the head-turning life-science activity in the marine, agricultural, clinical research, bioenergy, pharmaceutical, and military sectors are about three dozen life science companies with more than 100 service and support companies. These businesses may look for new sources of energy or fuel, derived from biomass production and from waste streams of industrial, agricultural, marine, and municipal processes. This office works to tailor North Carolina’s formula for life-science success – collaboration – to meet the unique requirements of the Southeastern Region.



NCBiotech stands ready to help life-science professionals maintain vital networking activity, bringing together partners from key disciplines to enrich both work and social life. Our groups include the Coast Clinical Research Initiative, whose impact has extended into workforce training with the help of UNCW and a Duke Energy Foundation grant. These and other activities in the region are guided by an advisory committee.

Workforce Training

Workforce Training

Training at the region's 15 colleges and universities includes some of the top marine science programs. The region’s academic flagship, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, graduates biology, biochemistry, chemistry and marine-science specialists. Biotechnology graduates also come from Fayetteville State University and the Biotech Training and Research Center at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The region’s community colleges teach specialized life science skills at Brunswick, Robeson and Southeastern community colleges.



We work with researchers and companies in our region to apply for NCBiotech’s business funding and university research grants. Those looking for lab or office space can browse the NCBiotech list of research parks, core labs or wet labs. The market research resources of our Life Science Intelligence unit can also be made available at our Wilmington office. And job-seekers and employers can use the highly targeted NCBiotech jobs board.

Southeastern Region

Counties: The Southeastern Region includes Bladen, Brunswick, Cumberland, Columbus, Duplin, Hoke, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland counties.

Regional Population: 1.8 million

Access to multiple interstate corridors, including I-95.

Port of Wilmington

  • Designated as Foreign Trade Zone 214
  • 101,000 sq. ft. cold storage facility on-site
  • Rail service provided by CSX Transportation

$30M marine biotech research center at UNCW (MARBIONC)

Southeastern NC News & Events

Photo Credits:

Technician in lab at Pharmaceutical Product Development, Incorporated (PPD) - Courtesy of PPD

Members of the North Carolina delegation are joined by BioMarine officials at the 2013 BioMarine Business Convention in Halifax - Courtesy of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Rebecca Westbrooks, lead instructor of Environmental Science Technology, Southeastern Community College - Courtesy of Tim McKay

Dr. Daniel G. Baden, Director of the Center for Marine Scienceand professor of Biology and Chemistry at UNC Wilmington - Courtesy of UNC Systems