Santo Costa Elected Chairman of NCBiotech Board

Santo Costa
Santo Costa -- Smith Anderson photo

Santo Costa, an attorney and pharmaceutical executive with more than 40 years of senior operating management and board advisory experience in the life sciences, has been elected chairman of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Board of Directors.

“In this time of global stress, I welcome this opportunity to contribute in this way to North Carolina’s growing life sciences leadership,” Costa said. “I’m honored by the opportunity to lead this unique economic development organization that has excelled for more than 35 years in building a truly enviable life sciences ecosystem.”

As a member of the Biotech Center’s board since 2018, Costa has also served on the executive committee since 2019.

Doug Edgeton, president and CEO of NCBiotech, said Costa’s breadth of knowledge and experience is a valuable asset as North Carolina faces fierce competition from other states and nations for life sciences investments.

“Sandy is a wise and seasoned executive who knows the life sciences landscape extensively,” said Edgeton. “We look forward to his leadership as we work together to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Experienced pharmaceutical executive

In addition to his current legal practice with the Raleigh law firm of Smith Anderson, Costa’s experience includes service as president, chief operating officer and vice chairman of the seminal contract research organization Quintiles Transnational Corp. (now IQVIA). There he was responsible for all operating divisions and worldwide business development. 

He was also senior vice president-administration, general counsel and director of Glaxo Inc. (now GlaxoSmithKline); and U.S. area counsel for Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. And he has served on the boards of numerous other life sciences companies and civic organizations.

Costa’s many community outreach activities include:

  • Member, chairman of the Board of Directors, Aquestive Therapeutics

  • Member, Board of Directors, Cytokinetics, Inc.

  • Member, The Duke Brain Tumor Advisory Committee

  • Member, The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Ravenscroft School

Costa received his B.S. in pharmacy and his J.D. from St. John's University, from which he received the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Medal.

He is a nationally recognized speaker on leadership, as well as legal and policy issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry. He is the author of Humanity at Work: Encouraging Spirit, Achievement and Truth to Flourish in the Workplace, Chapel Hill Press (2nd printing, 2010).

Costa succeeds John Rabby, president of RELLC. Rabby chaired the Biotech Center board since 2016.

Rabby said of Costa: “Sandy’s extensive leadership experience in the global pharmaceutical and CRO industries bring a solid base of knowledge and business insights to the helm of this organization. He will continue to be a driving force in realizing the Biotech Center’s vision to make North Carolina a global leader in the life sciences.”

About the Biotech Center

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center leads life sciences technology-based economic development for North Carolina by supporting the progression of ideas from the research lab to the marketplace. NCBiotech invests in technology development through grants, in company development through loans, and in economic development through infrastructure grants. The Biotech Center’s programs and activities target emerging sectors and work across North Carolina to develop strengths that yield jobs in the life sciences.

NCBiotech is a private non-profit corporation funded by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Global life sciences leadership

The state’s life sciences sector employs more than 66,000 people at more than 735 companies. The total economic impact of those companies tops $83 billion annually and creates a total of 240,000 jobs. This generates nearly $2.2 billion in revenues for North Carolina state and local governments. These numbers put North Carolina among the top locations for life sciences in the U.S. 

For questions or more information, contact:
Jim Shamp
Director of Public Relations Corporate Communications 919-549-8889 |

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