Appreciating NCBiotech’s impact on life sciences in NC and the nation

As so many various state business rankings reflect, North Carolina continues to move from strength to strength as it relates to offering the commitment to education, a talented workforce and the quality of life that is critical to attracting either start-up businesses or those looking to expand.  

But it is not random luck that we find ourselves in such an envious position amongst our other 49 peer states, but rather the foresight and commitment of both political and business leaders over the past decades. Perhaps few examples of such prescient vision are as clear as the focus on life sciences for the State of North Carolina starting in Research Triangle Park in the late 1950’s and now expanding from “the mountains to Manteo.”  

Another equally visionary move was the establishment of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. It was the first of its kind in the country when it was founded in 1984 and has since been replicated by many other states. NCBiotech has served as a hub for funding, connecting and nurturing life sciences companies over decades which has helped North Carolina to be one of the top life sciences states in terms of the number and variety of life-sciences driven companies that form our robust life sciences ecosystem. As NCBiotech celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, it’s worth stepping back to appreciate the impact NCBiotech has had on the state and the life sciences industry overall.

G1's Jack Bailey
G1 Therapeutics CEO Jack Bailey

I’ve been fortunate to have had more than a passing view of the role and impact of NCBiotech, having worked there during graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill in the late 1980’s when biotechnology was still emerging as an industry. Under the leadership of Dr. Charles Hamner, NCBiotech was a leader in providing constructs for the regulatory frameworks being developed that would ultimately guide this nascent industry nationally. 

One of my earliest memories was a visit by the Vice President of the United States who toured NCBiotech in 1990. I was later fortunate enough to repay the learning and insights I received while working there by serving on the board for several years. Like so many important North Carolina institutions, I was impressed with the caliber of the business and academic leaders who committed their time and talents to ensure NCBiotech continued to evolve, much like the science they were so integral in cultivating and supporting. I was also impressed with the array of different companies that sought out NCBiotech for guidance, insights, funding, and support.

G1 logoAnd finally, things came full circle as I assumed the leadership role at a company that was able to secure critical early stage funding from NCBiotech during our company’s development. That same company has now brought to the market the first myeloprotective agent that prevents damage to a patient’s bone marrow when they require chemotherapy following a cancer diagnosis. That company, G1 Therapeutics, is a shining example of the critical role NCBiotech plays in bringing world-class innovation to patients here in North Carolina and around the world, all while growing the life sciences right here at home.

Congratulations to all the past and current leaders and colleagues who make NCBiotech a jewel for the state and such an important player in the continued growth of the life sciences in our state. North Carolinians and patients both say, “Thank you!” 

Jack Bailey is CEO of G1 Therapeutics and a former NCBiotech board member. 

Jack Bailey, CEO of G1 Therapeutics
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