RALEIGH, N.C. — The state of Maryland has fallen out of the running to land a massive new vaccine production plant, indicating that North Carolina has won the bidding war to land the $500 million facility to be built by drug giant Novartis.
Maryland officials said Monday that they dropped out of the bidding for the plant.
“It’s too expensive,” Aris Melissaratos, Maryland’s secretary of business and economic development, told The Baltimore Sun on Monday.
North Carolina, which has been mentioned as a possible site by Novartis, and Georgia were among the other states mentioned as possible locations.
The News & Observer reported Tuesday that Novartis has indeed picked Holly Springs, N.C. as the winner in the bidding war. A deal is expected to be announced formally at a news conference in Raleigh on Tuesday, the newspaper said.
The new plant is expected to produce flu vaccine.
The Maryland official said Novartis wanted free land as part of an incentive plan to build the facility. He also said other states were offering five times as much value in incentives as compared to Maryland’s offer, The Sun said.
The Golden Leaf Foundation in North Carolina recently announced it had provided Holly Springs with an $800,000 grant to help land a “major pharmaceutical firm.”
The plant is expected to cost $350 million and produce 400 new jobs, according to Golden Leaf.
Holly Springs was among the possible sites considered for a new plant to be built by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, that company rejected North Carolina last week, instead picking a location in Massachusetts. That plant is expected to cost $1 billion and produce as many as 700 jobs.
Novartis was one of five pharmaceutical firms to land huge federal contracts for production of avian flue vaccine in May. Novartis was awarded more than $220 million.
This spring, Holly Springs was among the possible sites considered for a new plant to be built by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, that company rejected North Carolina, instead picking a location in Massachusetts. That plant is expected to cost $1 billion and produce as many as 700 jobs.