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NC's Booming with International Bioscience Companies

Novo Nordisk's $1.8B expansion in Clayton is the single largest manufacturing investment in state history. -- Novo Nordisk photo

At least a dozen life science companies headquartered outside the United States started or expanded operations in North Carolina during the last 12 months, fortifying the state’s reputation as a global hub for commercial bioscience.

Seventy-one life science companies headquartered in 20 countries now have a presence in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, a state-funded, non-profit organization that supports life science economic development. The companies employ more than 17,000 people in the state, where they have made capital investments totaling well over $2.5 billion in the past five years alone.

NCBiotech published the update to coincide with today's start of the 2016 BIO International Convention, being held this week in San Francisco.

North Carolina's new and expanding life science companies with offshore headquarters are highly diversified, working in pharmaceuticals, plant and animal agriculture, biofuels, diagnostics, devices, specialty chemicals, clinical research and testing, and other sectors.

The following offshore companies have announced new or expanded sites in North Carolina since June 2015:

Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries, based in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, began building a $1.8 billion production facility for diabetes medicines at its Clayton site that will create 700 high-paying jobs. With a footprint of about seven football fields, the expansion is reported to be the single largest manufacturing investment in North Carolina history.

Aurobindo Pharma, based in Hyderabad, India, will invest $31.7 million to establish a new U.S. headquarters in Durham that will bring 275 new R&D and pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs.

Grifols, based in Barcelona, Spain, will invest $210 million to build two new facilities at its Clayton campus for the production of blood-derived therapeutics.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a contract manufacturing unit of FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. of Tokyo, opened a 62,000-square-foot facility in Morrisville for bioprocess R&D.

Premier Research, a global contract research organization based in Wokingham, England, will create 260 high-paying jobs and build a $4.1 million operations center in Research Triangle Park over the next five years. 

Mayne Pharma, based in Melbourne, Australia, announced a $65 million expansion of its contract development and manufacturing campus in Greenville, creating 110 new jobs.  

Bayer Crop Science, a division of Bayer AG, based in Leverkusen, Germany, finished a $33 million office renovation and broke ground for a $34 million research greenhouse at its North American and global seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park. 

Xellia Pharmaceuticals, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, will expand its drug-manufacturing site in Raleigh and relocate its North American headquarters to Raleigh from Grayslake, Ill.

Raumedic, based in Helmbrechts, Germany, opened a $27 million development and production facility in Mills River to make plastic and rubber components for the medical and pharmaceutical industries.  

Almac Group, a global contract research organization based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, opened a 150,000-square-foot development facility for companion diagnostics in Durham, adjacent to its 300-employee Clinical Services operation. 

Arbiom, a producer of bio-based chemicals and fuels from renewable biomass, was formed from the combination of Biomethodes of Evry, France, and OptaFuel of Norton, Va., and is establishing a new R&D center in Research Triangle Park.

MedPharm, based in Guildford, England, created a new U.S. subsidiary, MP Pharma Services, in Research Triangle Park to provide performance testing of topical and transdermal drug formulations and other contract services.

Offshore companies cite a litany of advantages gained from locating and expanding in North Carolina, including:

  • Proximity to major research universities and the world’s largest planned innovation park, Research Triangle Park
  • A highly educated workforce
  • Sophisticated training programs in biomanufacturing
  • Long-term state investments in bioscience development
  • A favorable business environment, ranked second nationally in 2015, according to Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking of the states
  • A location central to America’s populous East Coast market
  • Shorter flights to and from Europe, compared to the West Coast
  • Excellent quality of life with a reasonable cost of living, a temperate climate with four seasons, and proximity to mountains and beaches.

North Carolina, which has more than 600 life science companies statewide, recently launched a “Go Global NC” program to expand the connections that link North Carolina to the world and the world to North Carolina.  

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