Zoetis Opens New R&D Facility in Research Triangle
Zoetis celebrated Thursday the official opening of its new 78,000-square-foot building in Durham dedicated to diagnostics and biodevices research and development (R&D) to meet the needs of veterinarians, livestock farmers and pet owners.
North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders and State Rep. Zack Hawkins joined Zoetis CEO Kristin Peck and other company officials and employees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new facility. North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences also had representatives at the event.
“The investment we have here is because of what you have delivered, your commitment to the company, to our customers and to animals,” Peck said, addressing the employees gathered in a large tent in the facility’s parking lot. “And the confidence we have in you is why you see this investment here in Durham.
“It’s also super exciting to celebrate our expanded presence here in Durham around R&D, biodevices and diagnostics, and to really have the opportunity to bring so much more of the diagnostics work here into Durham,” Peck said.
The expanded site will serve as the hub for Zoetis’ engineering and diagnostics work, including device reliability testing. The new building features more than 78,000 square feet, including 23,000 square feet of total lab space allotted for a biodevice engineering lab, biodevice science lab, diagnostics engineering lab and diagnostics engineering lab space.
Zoetis employs approximately 200 people at its sites in Durham, more than half of whom are dedicated to the company’s R&D work.
Robert Polzer, executive vice president and president of R&D at Zoetis, said, “The Durham community has been an absolutely fantastic home to our technologies for several years and this represents an evolution of our commitment to the Durham area to deliver our next-generation products.”
Polzer said that Zoetis has more than a hundred colleagues within R&D at the Durham facility, with about 50 percent of them onboarded over the past three years.
“Our group, our talents, our expertise only represent one piece of our puzzle,” Polzer said. “The other critical piece is obviously our ability to tap into local talent and expertise. Durham, a vibrant community, and the neighboring communities offer tremendous opportunities for partnerships and collaborations to ensure that we can deliver on our journey going forward.”
Zoetis’ mission is “to nurture our world and humankind by advancing care for animals.” The company’s portfolio and pipeline of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and technologies are used in more than 100 countries. A Fortune 500 company, Zoetis generated revenue of $8.1 billion in 2022 with approximately 13,800 employees worldwide. Peck said Zoetis has helped vaccinate more than 400 billion chickens to make sure they were born healthy.
David Rhoades, communications director for the Dept. of Commerce, delivered remarks on behalf of Sec. Sanders, who was called away from the event at the last minute.
“All of us at the department salute everyone at Zoetis for committing to the goal of carbon neutrality in your operations by 2030, for designing this building to use solar power for electricity and energy efficient lighting… You folks are even capturing rainwater to help save resources. So, this is a building worthy of dedication,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades said when it comes to a thriving economy in North Carolina that talent comes first. “We know that in today’s business world, a skilled, reliable and trained workforce is a huge competitive advantage. Successful workforce development programs bring together many people and organizations pulling together for a common goal,” Rhoades said.
Sec. Sanders’ remarks singled out the statewide coalition of public and private partner organizations and institutions, led by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, which recently received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC). The workforce development efforts supported by the BBBRC grant are “supercharging North Carolina talent in the life sciences.”
Adding to that, Rep. Hawkins praised Zoetis for “the realization that we are a talent-rich area, including our public schools, and that the State of North Carolina is the best state in which to do business.”