North Carolina’s life science community saw it all in 2015: billion-dollar deals, expansions, relocations, acquisitions, venture capital funding, an IPO, government grants, global accolades, a new pharmacy school and even two Nobel Prizes.
At least seven major life science companies decided to start or expand operations in North Carolina during 2015, investing millions of dollars in new facilities and creating hundreds of new jobs.
- Premier Research, a global contract research organization based in England and with North American headquarters in Philadelphia, announced plans to create 260 high-paying jobs and build a $4.1 million operations center in the Research Triangle Park over the next five years. The company established an office in the Park in 2010 and currently has 62 employees there. It employs about 1,000 people worldwide and operates in 84 countries.
- Mayne Pharma, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company based in Melbourne, Australia, announced a three-year, 126,000-square-foot expansion plan for the Greenville campus it established in 2012. The $65 million expansion will create 110 new jobs. Mayne now employs 350 people in North Carolina, mostly in Greenville. The company provides contract development services to the pharmaceutical industry and develops and manufactures niche generic drugs such as aspirin, oxycodone and morphine.
- AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge Major Laboratories, a drug development and manufacturing company, announce it would invest $15.8 million to expand its laboratories and global headquarters in Wilmington over the next three years, creating at least 37 new jobs by 2018. AAIPharma has operated in Wilmington for the last 30 years. It joined with Cambridge Major Laboratories in 2013 to form a fully integrated custom development and manufacturing organization. AAI Pharma/CML employs about 400 people across North Carolina.
- San Diego-based White Labs, a world leader in fermentation sciences that provides yeast to the brewing and winemaking industries, purchased a 26,000-square-foot building in Asheville with plans to employ 65 people – a mix of scientists, production and distribution personnel who will serve as company’s R&D hub for the Eastern U.S. and Europe. The idea for an Asheville site came when company founder and CEO Chris White attended a 2012 Science in the Mountains fermentation workshop sponsored by the N.C. Biotechnology Center at Appalachian State University.
- Bayer CropScience 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. The facilities are part of nearly $150 million in facility investments at the campus since 2012.
- Bayer CropScience also opened a $6.3 million plant-breeding station on 150 acres in Pikeville. The facility will support the development and testing of Bayer’s FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties and Credenz soybeans for the mid-Atlantic region, using what the company calls high-performing, smart technology genetics in a wide range of varieties. It’s aimed at allowing growers a new, more advanced choice to maximize yields and quality.
- One year after it bought the Fresenius Kabi drug-manufacturing plant in North Raleigh, the Danish company Xellia Pharmaceuticals revealed plans to expand the site and relocate its North American headquarters to Raleigh from Grayslake, Ill. About 80 employees worked at the Fresenius Kabi plant when Xellia bought it in 2014, and they were retained. The headquarters and plant consolidation will add an undisclosed number of jobs to that total.
- The Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine, a $19 million genetic testing laboratory that opened in Morrisville in 2012, will take over the operations of a sister lab that the company is closing in Grand Rapids, Mich., bringing an undisclosed number of jobs to North Carolina. Sequenom’s molecular diagnostics laboratory tests are mainly for detecting prenatal problems, allowing obstetricians, geneticists, and maternal fetal medicine specialists to consult with expectant parents.
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Read the recap of the mega dollar deals