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North Carolina Life Sciences 2025 Strategy

NCBiotech is committed to building North Carolina's global life sciences leadership.

A leading state in biologics manufacturing. World-leading concentration of CROs. Ranked #5 in the nation for NIH funding.

We all know the strengths in North Carolina's life sciences story. It's a story we've built together over the past 40+ years. 

The life sciences continue to deliver promising solutions, from innovative therapies to safer food. We see more opportunity to contribute to these solutions and to deliver economic growth for North Carolina.

Below are some projects that will help us realize these opportunities. Contribute your ideas for strengthening North Carolina's story as a global life sciences leader.

Focus Areas 

Many ideas, notable for their diversity, have been woven intot he NCLS 2025 vision. The strategy is organized into four areas: Infrastructure, Talent, Investment, and Market Attraction. The individual projects represent gaps or ways to build on existing strengths, but always indicate a path forward for North Carolina's life sciences leadership.

Each tab includes specific projects for each focus area and ways to engage.

Creating Space

North Carolina must pursue several paths to provide the unique, specialized facilities and services necessary to meet the needs of growing life sciences sector.

  • Reinforce North Carolina’s intellectual capital, the foundation of a technology-based economic development ecosystem
  • Expand the inventory of ready-to-use space for small, medium and large companies as they grow in or locate to North Carolina
  • Execute targeted initiatives to shore up existing infrastructure, to meet needs for sector-specific facilities, and to realize opportunities in high-growth, emerging sectors

Current Activities

  • Pilot-scale GMP facilities

    North Carolina seeks to expand its scientific and economic status among the top life sciences regions by building on its existing biological industry strengths. Cell and gene therapies (CGT) clearly represent one such opportunity based on the state’s growing reputation as a key center for CGT research and innovation with internationally recognized thought-leaders, and a resident workforce supporting one of the most significant collections of commercial-scale biomanufacturers in the world. NCBiotech is actively supporting this initiative by promoting the construction of additional facilities and infrastructure that strategically enable pilot-scale advanced biological product development and early clinical manufacturing.

  • Graduation space

    As entrepreneurial companies grow and graduate from incubator space, they need the next level of space at an affordable price.

  • Greenhouse facilities

    The Triangle's ag tech startups are rapidly turning out new ideas. A shared facility to test those ideas would speed new technology to market.

  • Wastewater

    North Carolina's biomanufacturing companies create nitrogen-rich wastewater when producing their life-saving treatments. Their systems and municipal systems face capacity issues, which can limit growth. A coalition of companies, agencies, governments, and support organizations is working on this solution.

Engagement Opportunities

Contact Bill Bullock with ideas.

Growing Our Workforce

This core competitive advantage for North Carolina is under increasing pressure from a strong job market, anticipated job growth, and changing job skill profiles.

  • Grow programs focused on entrepreneurial leadership development
  • Expand workforce availability at all levels to meet company needs across diverse sectors
  • Create unique programs to reach and train non-traditional candidates for well-paying life sciences jobs

Current Activities

  • C-Level Talent and Training

    Startup companies often need guidance from seasoned executives but don't require a full-time position. Seasoned executives can fill this gap, so the first need is to attract that talent. Second, as a company grows, new business savvy is needed to keep it on the path to success. This project would also create a program to fill this need.

  • Postdoc Training

    Some life sciences jobs require specific scientific background for success. Training for postdocs is needed.

  • Window on the Workplace

    Partners in industry, education, and support organizations are working to address three findings: enhance training curricula, upgrade training equipment, and recruit more diverse workers to the training pipeline.

  • Military Outreach & Veterans Engagement

    Tens of thousands of military members transition to civilian life in North Carolina every year. Along with their spouses and veterans, this population makes a strong talent pool for biopharma jobs. NCBiotech's Military Outreach & Veterans Engagement (MOVE) program specifically links military experience with manufacturing jobs, working with military and industry partners.


    NCBiotech is partnering with the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and NextFlex as part of $5 million in funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The project develops an educational program modeled after NextFlex’s award-winning project-based learning FlexFactor® program that will expose high school students to technologies and careers in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. NCBiotech selects, engages, and trains industry and educational stakeholders to pilot and then deploy the program. The program will leverage the FlexFactor® program to increase the diversity of the biopharmaceutical manufacturing engineering workforce, including but not limited to women, underrepresented minorities, and members of the military community. 

  • Pharma K-12/NC Grads2Work

    Another entry point into the biopharma talent pipeline is high school graduation. This program, piloted in Pitt County, identifies graduates with needed skills, sponsors their training, and connects them to an interview with ThermoFisher Scientific and other local employers. 

  • CRO Workforce

    While working with the CRO Collaborative, partners from local CROs, university clinical sites, and academic institutions, NCBiotech has developed job descriptions for a slate of jobs to communicate career opportunities. Additionally, NCBiotech established a CRO landing page and partnered with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) Partners in Workforce Advancement (PWA) program to support initiatives focused on creating a sustainable workforce for the CRO sector. Training partners use the jobs descriptions to match coursework with necessary job skills. Collaborative members continue to focus on expanding training opportunities and resources while increasing awareness of career opportunities in North Carolina's CRO sector.

  • Industrial Internship Program

    NCBiotech's Industrial Internship Program (IIP) was initiated in fiscal year 2012 to support business and life sciences undergraduates and graduate students who are seeking experience in the life sciences. The IIP funds high-quality, three-month summer internships that benefit the interns as well as the life sciences companies.

  • Ag Tech Workforce

    Big data brings new opportunity to technology development in agriculture. Training needs in this area and in regulatory science needs to be assessed. 


Engagement Opportunities

Contact Laura Rowley with ideas.

Funding the Industry

The state’s current cadre of entrepreneurial companies requires consistent investments to achieve commercial milestones. The goal is that they thrive in North Carolina.

  • Strengthen existing and create new statewide public and private funding programs for entrepreneurial companies, for commercializing innovation, and to realize opportunity in high-growth emerging sectors
  • Raise profile of North Carolina and its small companies in key capital centers and with investors to accelerate investment and sustain brisk deal flow

Current Activities

  • Loan & Convertible Debt Program

    Small companies rely on NCBiotech's early funding programs, which allow them to generate research data to attract investment. The program has evolved to include convertible debt for appropriate investments. This program has more demand than available funds with 80-90 interested companies and approximately 15 annually awarded loans. A higher funding level would benefit this strong ecosystem development program and encourage companies to grow and expand in North Carolina.

  • Capital

    Access to capital is critical to company success. NCBiotech's team develops relationships with investors and strategic technology scouts to connect them with promising North Carolina life sciences companies. The program has attracted $140 in follow on funding into North Carolina for every dollar invested by NCBiotech.

  • Awareness Campaigns to Key Capital Centers

    NCBiotech continues visits to Boston, San Francisco and other clusters of investment firms. During these visits, the team pitches portfolio companies to the investors and also connects with small companies with potential to move to North Carolina.

  • Precision Health

    The North Carolina Precision Health Collaborative brings together the full spectrum of participants in this field. From research and testing to insurance and policy, this team is working to position North Carolina's strengths to lead this emerging area.


Engagement Opportunities

Contact Mary Beth Thomas with ideas.

Strengthening our Leadership

North Carolina’s life sciences assets place it among the top life sciences clusters in the world. Identifying gaps in the market and communicating North Carolina’s strengths and ability to fill those gaps will further develop the state’s life science leadership.

  • Leverage North Carolina’s university research strengths and technology transfer ecosystem, ultimately attracting an R&D company to North Carolina
  • Identify and capture opportunities for rapid growth at points of convergence between two or more sectors
  • Develop and implement a marketing communications plan that showcases the state’s strengths and energizes North Carolina’s brand as a top life sciences cluster

Current Activities

  • Brand Campaigns

    States, regions, and countries continue to augment their marketing efforts to attract life sciences jobs. Multiple partners communicating a consistent story about North Carolina's life sciences efforts will better position the state. NCBiotech is coordinating a multi-partner, statewide effort to create more buzz for North Carolina's strong life sciences brand.

  • RTP Ag Tech Hub

    Major multi-national companies and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem create a strong magnet for ag tech companies looking to grow. RTP is leading this effort for multiple partners to market the region as an ag tech hub.

  • Attract high-level conferences

    Bringing event-goers to North Carolina will raise the state's profile with prominent life sciences decision-makers. Virtual conferences will give us a different opportunity to showcase North Carolina's strengths worldwide.

  • Career Pathways and Awareness

    As companies locate or grow in North Carolina, they need talent to succeed. Talent is North Carolina's ace in its recruitment story. This initiative aims to keep the talent training pipeline full of qualified workers.

  • Convergence

    As technology advances, previously unrelated sectors connect to create new opportunities for growth. NCBiotech's Focused Initiative Team will coordinate where appropriate activities across North Carolina partners to leverage these opportunities.  


Engagement Opportunities

Contact Bill Bullock for more information or to share an idea.

Goal Tracking

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