North Carolina’s Biotechnology Center will be touting growth in the state’s life science industry this week at the BIO conference in San Francisco.

Among the highlights: At least 12 new or expansion projects with stated commitments totaling well over $2 billion over the past year by companies not headquartered in the U.S. – or “offshore” firms, as the Center calls them. The data was reported Monday as the BIO event opened a four-day run, drawing some 15,000 people from around the world.

The state – especially the Triangle region – is one of the nation’s largest biotech industry hubs with 71 companies from around the world operating in North Carolina, according to Biotech Center data.

“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,” the Biotech Center reported Monday.

In all, North Carolina is home to some 600 life science-related companies generating more than $73 billion in economic output and employing some 63,000 people.

A snapshot of the state’s life science sector reflects the breadth of its scope:

  • 600-plus life-science companies
  • 363 research and development
  • 128 contract research and testing
  • 105 production and manufacturing
  • 9 others

And they represent a broad mix of industries, such as plant and animal agriculture, biofuels, therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, specialty chemicals, clinical research and testing.

Specialization include:

  • Drug development
  • Contract research and testing
  • Agricultural R&D, feedstock and specialty chemicals
  • Bioscience distribution
  • Medical devices

2015-2016 projects

Recent expansions and new developments as cited by the Biotech Center include:

  • 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.

Why locate in North Carolina?

The international, or “offshore” companies, cite numerous reasons for locating in the state, according to the Biotech Center.

Reasons include:

  • Proximity to major research universities and the world’s largest planne 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.

Read more about the BIO convention at:

For more about the life science industry in North Carolina, see: