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

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sites across the state

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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 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

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.

Pfizer logo

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
Pfizer 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.

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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 2023

Durham Biopharma Career Pathways

Biomanufacturing Whitepaper 2022

FDB aerial

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), plans to invest $1.2 billion to double the size of its manufacturing facility currently under construction in Holly Springs.

When completed, the site will be the largest end-to-end cell culture CDMO facility in North America, housing state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing equipment and technology, including two large manufacturing suites for large-scale monoclonal antibody drug substance and drug product manufacturing. 


The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 19 grants and loans totaling more than $1.5 million to universities, bioscience companies and non-profit organizations in the second quarter of its fiscal year.

The awards, made in October, November and December 2023, will support life science research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help universities and companies attract follow-on funding from other sources.

GPX exterior

GXP-Storage, a leading provider of regulatory compliant storage solutions life sciences research, manufacturing, and healthcare-related biomedical and biodefense clients, has selected Nash County for its international headquarters. The first facility, to open in May 2024, will add over 200,000 cubic feet of secure storage space to meet the growing demand from regulated research and manufacturing activities in the Research Triangle.

Kiyowa Kirin x logo

Kyowa Kirin, a Japan-based global specialty pharmaceutical company, has selected Sanford in Lee County as the location for its first pharmaceutical manufacturing complex in North America.

BTEC lab

Robbie King, a Ph.D. geochemist, was looking for a career change.

He considered taking chemistry courses at North Carolina State University. But he ended up at the school’s Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) instead.

King completed BTEC’s one-year certificate program in 2021 and immediately went to work for Abzena, a contract research, development and manufacturing organization in Sandford. He’s now employed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in quality control and analytics, supporting the company’s Sanford operations.

JLL logo

The Research Triangle area is the hottest spot in the nation for biomanufacturing.

That’s the pronouncement from JLL, a Fortune 500 professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management.


In 2023, North Carolina attracted several life sciences investments, continued developing a trained workforce for the growing industry, and won national accolades as a top place to do business.

“2023 was a year of expansion for North Carolina’s life sciences ecosystem with major forward momentum to ensure the state has the necessary infrastructure and engagement to enable its future success,” said Laura Rowley, Ph.D., North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s vice president of life science economic development.


A staple of the Watauga County corporate community has been selected large business of the year by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

MOLTOX Molecular Toxicology, Inc., which produces pre-clinical research products for toxicology testing, will be formally recognized on Wednesday, January 10, during the 8th Annual High Country Economic Kickoff Luncheon. Also receiving awards are Baker Forge & Tool (small business of the year) and Mountain Elite All-Star Cheer & Tumbling (startup business of the year).

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North Carolina’s booming biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry will need at least 8,000 new workers by the end of 2026.

Will the state be able to provide that workforce? And how so?


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.

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