NC’s BioPharma Crescent Troupe Does Chicago Road Show
A group representing North Carolina’s BioPharma Crescent has a few more ideas now about such things as cell and gene therapies and digital solutions for pharmaceutical packaging.
And a lot of people from around the world are aware of North Carolina’s BioPharma Crescent.
That’s among the benefits of the Eastern North Carolinians’ visit to Chicago in April to attend the third annual CPhI North America trade show.
CPhI, an acronym for Convention on Pharmaceutical Ingredients, was organized 30 years ago with a mission of bringing together all segments of the pharmaceutical supply and manufacturing chain for business-to-business activities, education, and professional networking.
This year, CPhI featured more than 600 exhibitors from around the globe including a newly added bioprocessing zone to go along with other zones including finished drug products, drug development, specialty chemicals, packaging and machinery.
Bioprocessing zone a good fit for BioPharma Crescent
As a first-time exhibitor at CPhI, the new bioprocessing zone was a perfect host for North Carolina’s BioPharma Crescent. In its role as a marketing consortium, the Crescent is made up of economic development agencies, utilities and local governments representing a four county region stretching from Johnston County in the State’s capital region to Pitt County in the heart of the coastal plain.
A drive eastward through the 90-mile corridor provides glimpses every few miles of major pharmaceutical production facilities, each tucked away just off the freeway, with many nestled in groves of majestic long leaf pine trees. Those facilities include leading global life science companies such as Grifols in Clayton, Merck in Wilson, Pfizer in Rocky Mount and Thermo Fisher Scientific in Greenville. All told, there are more than 10,000 workers employed in the life sciences in this region with additional employees minted each year by North Carolina’s high quality public university system and robust community college system.
According to Mark Phillips, vice president for statewide operations and executive director for the Eastern Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, who attended the CPhI show with the group, “with over $ 3 billion in new life science investment over the last five years, the BioPharma Crescent region can hold its own with any other region in the U.S. Biopharmaceutical manufacturing makes sense for this region due to skilled labor, various workforce development and training capabilities, abundant supply of water, electricity and natural gas – all at competitive costs. The continued investment in North Carolina facilities and people are a testament to the value for these companies.”
The word is out about NC's great business climate
Phillips is not alone in his assessment of the business climate in North Carolina and the BioPharma Crescent region. Forbes recently named North Carolina as the best state in the U.S. for business, citing North Carolina’s low corporate tax rate, low energy costs and abundance of skilled labor. In the last 24 months, these and other attributes have led to major expansions at facilities in the Crescent region to include Novo Nordisk in Clayton, Fresenius Kabi in Wilson and Mayne Pharma in Greenville.
Tracy Hottovy, vice president of technology and engineering at Fresenius Kabi, said the company decided last year to expand its manufacturing operation in Wilson, buoyed by its positive experience in attracting the necessary skilled workers.
“The Wilson location also provides Fresenius Kabi with a favorable proximity to our customers,” he said, “along with several other positive attributes including abundant water supply, and a favorable environment working with local government during the construction and operation of our facility.
“We have also been part of a collaborative effort between industry and education in creating a network to help develop the needed workforce to support our future growth. The region offers our employees an attractive place to live with many amenities outside of work, along with at an attractive cost of living. We have a strong life science presence both in Wilson and the surrounding counties where we often find ourselves working jointly with others in our industry in pursuing synergies to enhance the potential for growth for all across the region.”
Week included meetings, booth visits, reception
During the week at CPhI, BioPharma Crescent members had a chance to get acquainted with a diverse group of companies through one-on-one meetings, booth visits and a well-attended reception organized by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
The BioPharma Crescent’s business proposition, as a region with the labor, infrastructure, capital and history to support additional life science growth and investment, was well received by those in attendance at the show.
The Crescent members’ message appeared to resonate with a mix of industry representatives including some already based in North Carolina as well as others from as far away as China and India. Both small-and large-molecule companies and even distribution and equipment companies expressed interest in learning more about how a presence within the BioPharma Crescent region might help them to either serve existing clients in the region or to grow their overall footprint in the North American pharmaceutical market, the largest in the world.