The NC Biotech Center heard good news from North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland, opening speaker at the CED Life Sciences Conference on Tuesday.

“Your budget is in the Governor’s budget with a little spare change,” he told a packed ballroom at the Raleigh Convention Center.

There is good reason for that, he added. The life sciences industry has a huge economic impact on NC, Copeland said, citing a report released today.

It shows the 650 life science companies in the state directly employ 63,000 people and are responsible indirectly for 260,000 jobs across the state. The economic impact totals $86 billion.

“North Carolina is one of the best places in the world for life sciences and a rich place to invest because of our universities and our talent,” he said. “It’s one of the few states where a product can go from lab to manufacturing. Time and again, people find inspiration in NC.”

He noted that the Biotech Center, created in 1984, helped the state achieve its biotechnology industry, pumping $34 million in grants and loans to 189 companies since its founding, $7.5 million last year alone.

A lower state corporate tax, state programs such as the One North Carolina small business program, and other factors mean the life science industry has great potential for even greater growth in the state.

“You are creating the future,” Copeland said.