Thermo Fisher Adds $154M, 290-Job Expansion to Booming Greenville Campus
Thermo Fisher Scientific, a leader in North Carolina’s booming pharmaceutical contract manufacturing industry, is back in growth mode with plans to invest $154 million and create 290 more jobs at its sprawling Greenville campus.
The announcement by Gov. Roy Cooper came as Thermo Fisher is still working on a $500 million, 500-employee manufacturing expansion announced in December 2020, and putting the finishing touches on a previously announced $74 million upgrade at the same 1.5-million-square-foot Greenville complex, which is spread across eight buildings on 142 acres. Completion of those previously announced projects was expected to put employment at the Greenville campus at around 2,000.
“Thermo Fisher's exciting announcement underscores North Carolina’s global reputation as a prime location for life sciences companies to operate,” said Governor Cooper. “With our skilled workforce, strong industry collaboration and an innovative business climate, this decision proves, yet again, that North Carolina’s biotechnology sector is thriving statewide.”
The Greenville site makes and packages medicines for a range of diseases including cancer, heart disease and blood clots. The newly announced expansion is to increase its capacity for sterile manufacturing of liquid fillings, prefilled syringes and lyophilized product development and manufacturing. It will also add oral solid dose continuous manufacturing capabilities.
Lyophilization, also known as freeze-drying, is a process used for preserving biological material by removing the water from it, first freezing it and then drying it, under a vacuum, at very cold temperatures. Lyophilized materials may be shipped more efficiently and stored much longer than untreated biologicals.
“Our continued growth in capabilities and capacity at our Greenville site has enabled us to support our clients’ needs and the patients they serve,” said Michel Lagarde, executive vice president, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “This new investment will enable new innovation and development capabilities to respond to the accelerated demand for critical medicines and therapies. We also look forward to continued job creation and economic development in this region.”
The company, formerly named Patheon, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), was acquired in August 2017 by Thermo Fisher for $7.2 billion. Patheon also had facilities in Durham and High Point that became part of the Thermo Fisher purchase.
“We are excited for the continued growth at our Greenville site as we help our customers bring important medicines and therapies to patients in need,” said Michelle Logan, vice president and general manager for drug product, North America, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “This expansion will enable us to create additional jobs and contribute to the economic development in our region.”
The new jobs at what has become Pitt County’s largest industrial employer are projected to pay an average of $66,526, more than 50% higher than the county’s average wage of $42,801. The new jobs are expected to bring $19.2 million of annual payroll growth to the region.
Thermo Fisher, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., reported 1,482 full-time employees at the Greenville site, and also has just over 700 employees at two operations in the Asheville area -- a manufacturing site for cold-storage laboratory products and a contact center in Asheville and a warehousing facility about 10 miles north in Weaverville. Competition for the Greenville expansion came from another of the company's sites, in Monza, Italy.
“We are so fortunate to have Thermo Fisher Scientific, a world-class CDMO, to continue its investment in this Greenville facility,” said Mark Phillips, vice president of statewide operation and executive director of the Eastern Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. NCBiotech provided a $100,000 Economic Development Award as part of a package of state and local incentives to secure the expansion in North Carolina.
“This expansion enables Thermo Fisher Scientific to offer more capabilities and an extended portfolio of services to meet increasing customer demands. This continued growth will provide significant workforce opportunities, and harness North Carolina’s strengths in pharma manufacturing to drive our mutual success.”
Patheon first located in North Carolina in 2008. The contract manufacturer bought Banner Pharmacaps in High Point in 2012, then announced a $2.6 billion merger with DSM in Greenville a year later. Now, as part of the global Thermo Fisher empire, the company remains one of the state’s leading employers. The Greenville facility was recently honored with the 2021 IndustryWeek Best Plants Award, which recognizes North American manufacturing facilities for excellence across a range of factors, including productivity, customer care, and employee engagement.
Besides the NCBiotech funding support, the project was facilitated by a North Carolina Department of Commerce Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. That grant authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $4,528,800 spread over 12 years.
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and the state’s General Assembly also partnered in the project. Local support was anchored by a performance-based Economic Development Grant approved by the Pitt County Commissioners and estimated at $3.3 million over an eight-year grant period. “As Thermo Fisher grows, Pitt County grows,” said Kelly Andrews, Pitt County Economic Development director. “We are working with Thermo Fisher and many partners to enhance our biopharma support network, which has been developing over decades and is unique to this region.”
The City of Greenville approved a Job Creation Grant totaling $500,000 over five years. In addition, the Greenville ENC Alliance will provide a total of $150,000 over five years. Other partners include the Greenville Utilities Commission, the North Carolina Community College System and Pitt Community College, the City of Greenville, and East Carolina University.
Here's what other economic development and community leaders said about today's announcement:
- North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders: “The strength of our life sciences industry is evident through Thermo Fisher’s increased investment in Eastern North Carolina “North Carolina is home to a diverse life science workforce and world-class universities and community colleges, who are developing the best and brightest talent in the nation. We will continue to help growing innovators improve the lives of North Carolinians and our global community for generations to come.”
- Pitt County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Ann Floyd Huggins: “We are proud to have Thermo Fisher in Pitt County, and many thanks to them for continuing to grow with us, employ our citizens, and do life-saving work. We remain committed to supporting their continued success.”
- Kelly Andrews, Pitt County Economic Development Director: “As Thermo Fisher grows, Pitt County grows. We are working with Thermo Fisher and many partners to enhance our biopharma support network, which has been developing over decades and is unique to this region.”
- Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly: “After competing globally, our community came out on top because we have the workforce, business climate, and resources to address their growth needs.”
- Brad Hufford, Vice President of the Greenville ENC Alliance: “We are thrilled that Thermo Fisher has again chosen to invest in our community and proud to be part of the team that helped secure this expansion.”
Thermo Fisher has more than 80,000 employees and annual revenue exceeding $30 billion.