NC Books $2.1B in New Life Sciences Facilities, 2,700 Jobs in 2022, Wins Accolades for Overall Investments

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Life sciences and related companies from around the world announced new or expanded facilities in 2022 that will bring more than $2.1 billion in investment and over 2,700 new jobs to North Carolina.

The investments, along with new or expanded facilities in other sectors, gave North Carolina its best year to date for the number of new jobs created across all industries. Over 28,300 new jobs were announced during the year, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

The record year earned North Carolina several national accolades, including:

  • Just announced this week, the 2022 State of the Year Award from Business Facilities, a national magazine for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals. It’s the second time in the last three years the publication has given North Carolina the top honor among the 50 states.
  • Top State for Business from CNBC, the national cable business news channel.
  • Top Business Climate from Site Selection Magazine, a publication covering global corporate real estate strategy and economic development.
  • No. 4 biotech hub ranking for the Research Triangle, according to Fierce Biotech, an online news site covering the biotechnology sector.

Life sciences projects boost 21 communities statewide

Thirty-two life sciences and related companies announced 33 projects in North Carolina that will create construction jobs and then life sciences jobs.

The investments will directly benefit at least 21 communities throughout the state, including Burlington, Cary, Clayton, Concord, Conover, Durham, Four Oaks, Garner, Greensboro, High Point, Kinston, Monroe, Mooresville, Morganton, Morrisville, Pisgah Forest, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, Sanford, Wilson and Winston-Salem.

"North Carolina enjoyed another banner year for life sciences company recruitments and expansions, confirming that the state offers major competitive advantages for this sector," said Doug Edgeton, president and chief executive officer of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

“These companies chose North Carolina for its talented workforce, outstanding research universities, supportive infrastructure, favorable business climate and high quality of life. Their investments in research, testing, manufacturing and other activities will create high-paying jobs in communities across the state for years to come."

Manufacturing leads the way

Manufacturing and related activities account for most of the new investments. Companies announced facilities to make a wide variety of products including drugs, diagnostics, medical devices, drug-delivery systems, drug packaging, personal healthcare products and food.

ABEC, a maker of bioprocessing equipment based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will invest $11 million in a new ISO-7 cleanroom and increased capacity for single-use disposable container manufacturing in Wilson, creating 251 jobs. The expansion will support the company’s Custom Single Run biomanufacturing solutions for the biopharmaceutical industry.

BD, a global medical technology company based in New Jersey, will invest between $25 million and $30 million in a new medical device processing facility in Four Oaks, creating 22 jobs.

Believer Meats, an Israeli company that is commercializing cultivated meat made from animal cells, plans to build a $123 million, 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Wilson that will employ 100.

BestCo, a Mooresville-based maker of pharmaceutical dosage forms for over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements, will invest $177 million to expand its manufacturing site in Mooresville, adding 394 jobs.

Catalent, a New Jersey-based CDMO with two key facilities in Greenville and Morrisville, will invest $40 million to build a third, a Durham County campus that will create 201 jobs.

Cathtek, a medical device development and manufacturing company based in Winston-Salem, will invest $1.6 million to expand in the city, adding 60 jobs.

Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company based in Indianapolis, will invest $939 million in a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Concord, creating nearly 600 jobs. The facility will make injectable products and devices and will be Lilly’s second North Carolina site.

Encoded Therapeutics, a gene therapy company headquartered in South San Francisco, opened a new manufacturing site in Morrisville to develop nonclinical and clinical supplies of gene therapies in support of the company’s research programs for pediatric disorders of the central nervous system.

Enzyvant, a commercial-stage biotechnology company with a focus on regenerative medicines for rare diseases, established new headquarters in Cary, following its merger with Altavant Sciences. The company also announced plans to invest $34 million in a 25,972-square-foot Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-compliant regenerative medicine manufacturing facility in Morrisville in partnership with Sumitomo Pharma, owner of Enzyvant’s immediate parent company, Sumitovant Biopharma.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies USA, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), will expand its BioProcess Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park, creating 145 jobs by 2024. The 89,000-square-foot addition will double the company’s laboratory footprint.

FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based FUJIFILM Corp., will invest $188 million in a new cell culture media manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park, creating 100 jobs. The site will support cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) production of animal-component-free dry powder and liquid media for the biopharmaceutical industry.

Gerresheimer Glass, a German manufacturer of packaging products for medication and drug delivery devices made of special-purpose glass and plastics, will invest $94 million to expand its Morganton production site, creating 78 jobs.

Novex Innovations, a Winston-Salem contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), acquired two downtown buildings for about $12 million and plans to add 20 employees there.

Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries, a Danish pharmaceutical conglomerate, will expand its production site for biologics in Clayton, creating what it described as “millions in investment and hundreds of jobs” over the next 12 years.

Nufabrx, a Conover-based company that puts active ingredients and medications into fabrics for controlled release to the skin, will invest $10 million to expand its Healthwear manufacturing center in Conover, creating 45 jobs.

Pisgah Laboratories, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical ingredients, will invest $55 million to expand its manufacturing facilities in Pisgah Forest, adding 57 jobs.

Procter & Gamble, a global consumer brands company based in Cincinnati, will invest $110 million to expand its Greensboro manufacturing facility for personal healthcare products, adding 46 jobs.

West Pharmaceutical Services, a Pennsylvania-based maker of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products, will invest $70 million to expand its production, warehouse, and distribution capacity in Kinston, creating 70 jobs.

Research, testing sector grows

Companies focused on research, development and testing of new technologies and products also accounted for several expansions.

Brightseed, a San Francisco-based company that uses artificial intelligence to identify natural bioactive compounds and their health benefits, will open a 12,500-square-foot facility in Durham, adding 35 jobs to support discovery, ingredient sales, manufacturing, quality assurance, and medical and regulatory affairs.

GreenLight Biosciences, a Massachusetts company that conducts RNA research, design, and manufacturing for human, animal, and plant health, will expand its facilities in Research Triangle Park, adding 40 jobs. The expansion will include a new greenhouse, laboratories, and offices.

Marrone Bio Innovations, a developer of biological products for crop protection, plant health and waterway systems treatment, relocated its corporate headquarters to Raleigh from Davis, California. In July 2022 it merged with Bioceres Crop Solutions to create Pro Farm Farm Group. The NC headquarters was subsequently discontinued.

MIMEDX, a Georgia-based company focused on advanced wound care and therapeutic biologics, will establish a laboratory in the RegeneratOR Innovation Accelerator in Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter.

NightHawk Biosciences, a Morrisville-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to modulate the immune system, will build an advanced biosafety level 2 laboratory, adding biodefense and infectious disease capabilities to the company’s research facilities in Morrisville.

Syngenta Crop Protection, a global plant agriculture company based in Switzerland, will invest $18 million in a 13,000-square-foot insectary in Research Triangle Park for studying pests that can devastate crops.

The Plant Pathways Company, a Sanford-based company focused on improving crops through plant breeding, opened an R&D facility in Sanford to conduct research on replacing sugar with stevia, a natural sweetener and sugar substitute, in soft drinks

Support companies choose North Carolina too

Companies that provide various support services to the life sciences community also selected North Carolina for new projects.

Dymax Corp., a global chemical and plastics manufacturer based in Connecticut, will invest $46.7 million in manufacturing, warehouse, and office space in Monroe, creating 227 jobs.

Ecolab, a Minnesota-based provider of water, hygiene and infection-prevention solutions for pharmaceutical and personal-care product manufacturers, will invest $93 million in a new warehouse facility in High Point, adding 20 jobs.

ExtraVault, a provider of cryogenic storage services for medical and research use, will invest $11.2 million in a new 56,000-square-foot storage facility in Durham.

MD Logistics, a third-party logistics company based in Indiana, will create 30 jobs in Garner by expanding its cGMP-compliant warehouse that serves the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries.

Nelipak Healthcare Packaging, a Rhode Island-based company that makes rigid and flexible packaging solutions for medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutical drug delivery and other healthcare applications, will invest $20 million in a 110,000-square-foot production site in Winston-Salem, creating 79 jobs.

SteriTek, a California-based provider of sterilization services for complex medical devices and sensitive biologic materials, will build a $60 million sterilization facility in Burlington that will create 50 jobs.

TFS HealthScience, a Swedish contract research organization that helps biotech and pharmaceutical companies with clinical development and strategic resources, moved its U.S. headquarters to Durham from New Jersey, bringing 40 jobs. In 2020 TFS entered into a strategic partnership with the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham to provide data management solutions across the academic research organization’s study portfolio. 

NC’s life sciences sector is larger than ever

North Carolina begins the new year with the largest number of life sciences companies and employees in its history, according to new figures compiled by the Biotechnology Center.

The state now has 810 life sciences companies and about 2,500 other companies that support them with services such as staffing, real estate, venture capital, equipment and clinical trials management.

The life sciences sector employs about 75,000 people throughout the state.

Robust company recruitments and expansions over the last three years, including those described above in 2022, buttressed those numbers.

In 2021 the state enjoyed a record year for economic development in the life sciences, gaining $4 billion of investment in 37 recruitment and expansion announcements and creating over 5,000 jobs.

The Biotech Center reported nearly $2.8 billion and 21 announcements in 2020, representing over 4,600 new jobs.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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