Cambrex Investing $30M, Adding 78 Jobs at High Point Pharma Facility
Cambrex Corp., a contract manufacturer of small-molecule therapeutics with major facilities in High Point and Durham, plans to invest another $30 million and hire 78 more employees to expand the production capabilities of its High Point campus.
“We are excited to celebrate Cambrex’s expansion on National Manufacturing Day,” said Governor Roy Cooper in announcing the project. “When thriving pharmaceutical companies continue making life-changing medicines in North Carolina, it validates our reputation as a place where life science companies can flourish and do groundbreaking work.”
The privately held global company, headquartered in East Rutherford, N.J., has just completed a $30 million, three-year expansion of the High Point facility that was designed to add 78 new employees, bringing its total head count there to about 150. That’s nearly triple the number it had in October 2016 when it established its business there by acquiring PharmaCore, also a privately held clinical contract manufacturer, for $25 million.
“Cambrex’s mission is to support our pharmaceutical customers in the development and manufacturing of new therapies that improve human health,” said Thomas Loewald, Cambrex CEO. “As a result of our High Point team’s commitment to providing our customers best-in-class technical expertise, innovative chemistry, and engineering solutions, the facility has seen rapid growth in demand for our development and manufacturing services. We are extremely excited about this expansion in North Carolina, which would not have been possible without the support of the State’s leadership and economic development programs, and their focus on nurturing the region’s skilled and diverse workforce.”
The High Point facility produces complex advanced pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates requiring multi-step synthetic processes in batch sizes from milligrams to 100 kg in support of clinical trials from Phase 1 through to Phase 3. The site is licensed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to manufacture Schedule II to Schedule V controlled substances.
The expansion announced today will increase the company’s production of clinical APIs and add capacity for commercial API production. Cambrex also produces finished dose forms, advanced intermediates, and enhanced drug delivery products for branded and generic pharmaceuticals. Its development and manufacturing capabilities include enzymatic biotransformations, high-potency APIs, high-energy chemical synthesis, controlled substances, and continuous processing.
"The life sciences and manufacturing sectors are major contributors to North Carolina’s economic success,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the execution of the state’s First in Talent strategic plan, we will continue to develop a skilled, diverse, and inclusive workforce that will help attract and support the growth of innovative manufacturers like Cambrex.”
The company’s new positions include operations, scientists, quality assurance and administrative personnel. Although wages will vary, the average annual salary for all new positions is $96,167, creating a potential payroll impact of more than $7.5 million per year. Guilford County’s overall average annual wage is $50,603.
“It’s exciting to see a global company like Cambrex continue to grow in North Carolina and expand its development and manufacturing capabilities in the Piedmont Triad region,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad Office. NCBiotech was among the partners working on the Cambrex project. “This expansion strengthens the clinical trials supply chain while bringing a range of career opportunities to our local community.”
A performance-based grant of $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Cambrex’s expansion to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
Cambrex’s Durham site, at 3501 Tricenter Blvd., is a contract development, manufacturing and testing organization (CDMO). It encompasses 100,900 square feet of lab and production space, where some 100 employees provide analytical development and testing, process chemistry, API manufacturing, and stability storage & testing.
It became part of the company’s global network of development and manufacturing facilities following Cambrex’s acquisition of Avista Pharma Solutions in 2019. Also in 2019, publicly traded Cambrex became privately held when it was acquired by funds advised by Permira, a global investment firm.
Cambrex labels itself as “the leading small-molecule company that provides drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle.” Small-molecule drugs are those that are created from chemicals rather than biological components.
The company has over 40 years’ experience providing pharmaceutical-company customers with end-to-end research, development, and manufacture of small-molecule therapeutics. Its growing team of more than 2,100 employees service global clients from 13 sites in North America and Europe.
The company’s other North American facilities are in Whippany, N.J.; Charles City, Iowa; Longmont, Colorado; and Agawam, Mass., in the U.S.A., and Mirabel, Québec in Canada. Its European facilities are in Karlskoga, Sweden; Edinburgh, Scotland; Paullo, Milan in Italy; Tallinn, Estonia; and Wiesbaden, Germany.
Joining NCBiotech, the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were other key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, GuilfordWorks, Guilford County Economic Development Alliance, High Point Economic Development Corporation and the City of High Point.