Biologics and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing 

North Carolina is home to one of the largest concentrations of biologics and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.

With more than 32,000 biomanufacturing employees at 108 manufacturing sites, North Carolina is home to some of the largest biopharma companies in the world, a diverse workforce, and startup companies that are at the forefront of today's most innovative technologies. The state's extensive training programs deliver skilled talent to global leaders, including Baxter, Biogen, Eli Lilly, Grifols, GSK, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, Pfizer, CSL Seqirus, Thermo Fisher and more.

We use the term “biopharma manufacturing” to describe the breadth of North Carolina's community. It encompasses biopharmaceutical and small-molecule pharmaceutical manufacturers as well as the manufacturers of industrial enzymes and R&D products.

NC biopharma manufacturing mapNC: A Thriving Biopharma Manufacturing Hub

North Carolina biopharma manufacturing sites produce an array of products, including small-molecule therapeutics, monoclonal antibodies, industrial enzymes, and vaccines. In recent years, N.C.'s biopharma manufacturing industry has expanded as novel technologies including cell- and gene-based therapies have moved from research laboratories to commercial manufacturing.

North Carolina is also among the top states for biological product manufacturing employees. N.C.'s statewide network of industry-driven workforce solutions provides students and companies with hands-on training in state-of-the-art facilities.

Biopharma Manufacturing Landscape in NC

building icon

sites across the state

people icon


Cell- and Gene-based Therapy Manufacturing

North Carolina has quickly established itself as a leading hub for cell- and gene-based therapies. As innovative approaches and curative therapies emerge and bring new hope to patients with rare diseases and cancer, North Carolina’s established life science ecosystem is well-positioned to move these life-changing therapies from idea to market.

The state’s cell- and gene-based therapy sector is supported by world-class research, a strong foundation in biopharma manufacturing, numerous resources, top talent, and an exceptional business climate.

Below are some companies across the state that are manufacturing cell and gene therapy products.

Astellas Gene Therapies

Astellas Gene Therapies is establishing a $109.4 million, 209-employee gene therapy production facility in Lee County. Expansion phases are planned for the next two years. Hiring started in 2020 and will grow through 2026.


In 2019, Paris-based biotechnology company Cellectis announced plans to invest nearly $70 million and create 200 jobs in Raleigh, at what will become its first North American manufacturing facility.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies USA, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), will expand its BioProcess Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park, creating 145 jobs by 2024. The 89,000-square-foot addition will double the company’s laboratory footprint.

novartis logo

Novartis Gene Therapies, formerly known as AveXis, intends to use its new Durham facility to manufacture ZOLGENSMA, its first FDA approved gene therapy to treat three types of spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA. SMA Type 1 is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality.


Sanford & Durham
Following Pfizer’s 2016 acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics, its gene therapy footprint in North Carolina has continued to grow. Pfizer began to build out gene therapy manufacturing capacity at its Sanford vaccine production site in 2017, and has since announced plans to invest another $500M and create 300 more new jobs to strengthen its gene therapy capabilities. Additionally, a 60,000-square-foot building will be renovated to house Pfizer’s Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product facility in Durham.

Precision Biosciences

Precision BioSciences recently opened its production facility for in-house manufacturing of its unique technologies. The facility is the first in-house cGMP-compliant manufacturing facility in the U.S. dedicated to genome-edited, off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy products.

Industry Leaders Across the State

Cook Medical
Corning Life Sciences
CSL Seqirus
Fresenius Kabi
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
KBI Biopharma
Mayne Pharma
Novartis logo
PPD logo
Precision Biosciences
Thermo Fisher

Statewide Training

A career in biopharma manufacturing is rewarding. These well-paying jobs contribute to the creation of products that positively impact lives around the globe. As biopharma manufacturing companies continue to expand operations in North Carolina, the need to fill a variety of roles remains critical.

Below are a few training institutions across the state that specialize in biopharma manufacturing training.

Additional Learning Opportunities

Whether you are looking to jumpstart your career out of high school or a working professional seeking to update your skills, North Carolina has created a variety of opportunities to succeed in this sector.

The Biopharma Manufacturing Education Resources is a compilation of educational offerings across the state organized by education level and region.

View the Biopharma Manufacturing Education Resources page.

people icon

projected new jobs

money icon

average annual salary

building icon

sites across the state

  • NC BioNetwork

    BioNetwork is the N.C. Community College System’s life science training initiative that includes:
    • BioWork Certificate Program - The BioWork certificate program is a 136-hour course that teaches the foundational skills needed to begin a career as a process technician for a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or chemical manufacturing company. Process technicians are responsible for the production of chemical and pharmaceutical products.
    • Open enrollment and customized courses and workshops for incumbent employees and transitional workers
    • Hands-on activities for students and professional development for K-14 teachers
    • Capstone Center - Industry-grade tools and a certified cleanroom suite mirror a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The Capstone Center is located in the Golden LEAF BTEC building on NC State's Centennial campus in Raleigh.
  • Biomanufacturing Technology & Education Center (BTEC)

    Biomanufacturing Technology & Education Center (BTEC) at North Carolina State University uses the latest biomanufacturing technologies to provide hands-on learning opportunities including:
    • Undergraduate minor, Professional Science Master’s degrees, and both undergraduate- and graduate-level certificates
    • Open enrollment and customized short courses for industry professionals
    • Contract bioprocess and analytical services
  • Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE)

    Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at North Carolina Central University provides hands-on learning opportunities including:
    • Undergraduate and graduate degree programs
    • Internship and on-campus research experiences
    • Outreach and community programs for students and teachers
  • National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce

    The National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce is a Forsyth Technical Community College and NC Community College System program that prepares workers for in-demand jobs in advanced technologies to help maintain U.S. competitiveness in a global economy.


  • The North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network (PSN)

    The North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network (PSN) is a collaboration between East Carolina University and Pitt Community College providing a continuum of training including:
    • Oral Solid Dose short course for students and new and incumbent pharma employees
    • Graduate level GMP courses
    • Analytical services for government, academia, and industry

  • NCBioImpact

    NCBioImpact combines the resources of North Carolina's university and community college systems to meet the growing demands of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The training programs partner closely with NCBiotech, NCBIO, the Department of Commerce and industry to form a unique academic, industry and government collaborative.

  • Biomanufacturing and Process Development (BPD)

    BPD’s mission is to provide a forum for process development and manufacturing scientists and engineers to discuss bioprocessing issues. The group meets approximately eight to ten times a year with speakers from academia, industry, technology vendor experts, and regulatory experts. This is one of the 20-plus Exchange Groups that are supported statewide by NCBiotech.

  • BioPharma Crescent

    The BioPharma Crescent is a five-county region located in Eastern North Carolina, about halfway between Raleigh and the Atlantic Ocean. The region is home to major biopharma manufacturers such as Grifols, Novo Nordisk, ThermoFisher Scientific, Pfizer and more. Colleges, universities, and a biopharma-specific training network provides local businesses with a highly educated and well-trained workforce.

  • Build Back Better Coalition

    A statewide coalition of public and private partner organizations and institutions, led by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, received a Phase 2 award totaling nearly $25 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The award, targeting underserved and distressed communities, will further strengthen North Carolina's life sciences manufacturing cluster by funding the following programs:

    • Workforce diversification
    • Expanded training access and faculty recruitment
    • Community engagement
  • National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL)

    The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate biopharmaceutical innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and educate and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, fundamentally advancing U.S. competitiveness in this industry. 

  • North Carolina Biosciences Organization (NCBIO)

    NCBIO is the trade association for North Carolina’s life science industry. Members include companies and research institutions working in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, clinical research and agricultural biotechnology sectors, as well as firms and nonprofits that provide support services to life science companies. 

    NCBIO coordinates regular meetings of the Biotech Manufacturers Forum (BMF) to help late-clinical and commercial-phase biopharma manufacturing companies and related firms, including vendors and service providers, share information and address common concerns.  

  • North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR)

    NCABR plays a leading role in North Carolina and the nation by providing objective, timely and authoritative information to students, educators, government representatives, the media, members of the research community and the general public.

Looking for more info?

Download these materials for more information about North Carolina's biopharma manufacturing sector and related workforce initiatives.

Overview of Biomanufacturing in North Carolina

Window on the Workplace 2020

Durham Biopharma Career Pathways

Biomanufacturing Whitepaper 2022


The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 21 grants and loans totaling about $1.79 million to bioscience companies, universities and non-profit organizations in the first quarter of its fiscal year.

The awards, made in July, August and September, will support life science research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help companies attract follow-on funding from other sources.

WCC logo

Life sciences manufacturing is getting a $30 million boost in Eastern North Carolina, thanks to a state budget appropriation to develop a biologics training center in Wilson.

The center will provide customized training and education for life sciences manufacturing across the region. Wilson is home to a large manufacturing presence, including global companies Merck, Fresenius Kabi and ABEC.

Sequence Ribbon Cutting

The continued growth of North Carolina’s life sciences sector serves as a springboard for one Triangle company that’s accelerating how highly skilled talent is trained.

ISB Rendering

North Carolina is home to some of the world’s leading life sciences companies, renowned research universities, and workforce development programs to support growing demand for STEM-trained employees. North Carolina State University’s latest project, the Integrative Sciences Initiative and Building, highlights a key strength of the state’s life sciences ecosystem: an understanding of the convergence of disciplines at the heart of life sciences innovation.


The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 31 grants and loans totaling $2,764,811 to universities, life sciences companies and non-profit organizations in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year.

The awards, made in April, May and June, will support bioscience research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help universities and companies attract follow-on funding from other sources.

Gold Shovel Awards, Area Development

A combination of economic development projects in multiple sectors – life sciences, electric vehicles, semiconductors, and even retail – helped land North Carolina the sole top spot in the latest issue of Area Development, a quarterly publication covering site selection, facility planning and economic development.

restor3D ankle implant

Medical device startup restor3d, which uses 3D printing for a more individualized approach to implant surgery, is getting bigger.

The Durham-headquartered company has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Conformis, Inc. to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of the Massachusetts-based business for $2.27 per share. The all-cash deal is a 96% premium to Conformis’ closing price on June 22. It should be completed by the end of the third quarter of this year.

BIO Booth

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center and a host of partners showcased the strengths of North Carolina’s life sciences community at BIO 2023, the international biotechnology conference in Boston last week.  

Workforce Program instructor and students

Back in 2018, walking away from a conversation with North Pitt High School sophomore Diana De Leon, Mark Phillips knew he wanted to help her. He just needed to figure out how. 

Mark is North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Vice President of Statewide Operations and Executive Director of its Eastern Regional Office in the public power city of Greenville, North Carolina. 

Lab and pipette, Photo from Pixabay

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Merck (NYSE:MRK) announced a collaboration agreement today for Merck to build a biotechnology training center at Gateway Research Park’s South Campus in East Greensboro.

Merck will outfit the facility with the equipment and classroom spaces necessary to provide and enhance academic programming and training for biotechnology careers for North Carolina A&T students. A process laboratory will allow opportunities for students to put knowledge into practice in an advanced discovery setting.

scroll back to top of page