Life Sciences in Western North Carolina
The Western North Carolina biotechnology industry includes research and development, biomanufacturing, a natural products industry and contract research organizations, surrounded by a vibrant outdoors that offers recreational lakes, bike trails, waterfalls and ski lifts.
The West is one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions and the home of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area with unique assets like the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and The North Carolina Arboretum. About 80 percent of the plants in the world can be grown in Western North Carolina, giving companies like Gaia Herbs plenty of source material. The region is emerging as a leader in natural products and using science to ensure the purity of these supplements or foods.
Pharmaceutical suppliers and support services are also vital in this part of the state. f(x) Immune conducts laboratory services and development support for member companies of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. And White Labs, which specializes in fermentation, has opened its new U.S. headquarters in Asheville. The company will produce yeast, a necessary ingredient for all craft beer, which some view as the original form of biotech.
Ask us about the many other things that make the Western Region perfect for your company.
Jonathan Snover, Ph.D
Life Sciences Assets
Western North Carolina is rich in resources that help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow into successful biotech companies. About three dozen companies, led by Baxter Healthcare, make up the life sciences cluster here, with support from more than 100 other companies. Incubators and university researchers at Appalachian State, Western Carolina, and UNC Asheville round out the resources available to help your business succeed. All companies in Western NC are accessible via the Company Directory.
Innovation & Investment
The Biotechnology Center’s western office hosts a conference for the area’s universities to share and collaborate on research. Other events are listed on our calendar. The office also works with business and community leaders to expand the region’s life sciences cluster. A list of these advisory committee members is here.
Training & Workforce Development
The Western region is home to three University of North Carolina System campuses. Appalachian State University graduates biology, chemistry, and environmental science majors. Check out UNC Asheville, Western Carolina, or some of the state’s independent colleges and universities. BioNetwork Asheville provides training in the food, beverage, and natural products industries.
Value-added Foods and Fermentation Science
We work with researchers and companies in our region to apply for NCBiotech’s business funding and university research grants. Those looking for lab or office space can browse the NCBiotech list of research parks, core labs, or wet labs. Our Life Science Intelligence unit's market research resources can also be available at our Western office. And job-seekers and employers can use the highly targeted NCBiotech jobs board.
Counties – The Western Region includes Alleghany, Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cleveland, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
- Home to a stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the highest peak east of the Mississippi, Grandfather Mountain.
- With four distinctive seasons, the average annual temperatures in the region are 66.8 F (high) and 45.9 (low) with an average 37.76 inches of annual precipitation.
- The region is dissected by I-40 and I-26 allowing speedy delivery of merchandise, equipment and supplies.
- Asheville is the largest city in the western region with a cost of living below the national average (Forbes) and is 17th in the nation for best places for business and careers.
Western NC News & Events
Asheville Skyline: Courtesy of North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development
From Left to Right: George Briggs, The North Carolina Arboretum, Cheryl McMurry and Dr. Jeff Schmitt, Bent Creek Institute, examining a plant in the Arboretum greenhouse - Courtesy of the Asheville Citizen-Times