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Local Tech Wire

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Billionaire David Murdock, fresh from courting a high-profile client to the $1.5 billion he s building in Kannapolis, says a harvest of other deals could be in the pipeline.

"Things are changing quickly," Murdock told Emily Ford of the Salisbury Post on Thursday when crop giant Monsanto (NYSE: MON) announced it would establish a research lab at the campus.

Murdock told Ford that a number of companies were “very close” to committing to NCRC projects but had backed off due to the recession.

The owner of Dole Food also told Ford that he remains committed to the building of a large medical office building. That project fell behind schedule and led to Wilmington, N.C.-based Pharmaceutical Product Development to cancel its plans for a 300-employee presence at the campus.

Monsanto’s chief technology officer, Robb Fraley, told Ford that his firm’s decision could lead to more deals.

"With our presence here, some of those companies may reconsider and return," Fraley said.

Monsanto plans to open a 9,000 square foot lab in the main building at the NCRC and hire between 10 to 12 employees by June. Another two or three Monsanto scientists will visit annually, the Post reported.

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