Fresenius Kabi will expand its drug-manufacturing operations in Wilson, potentially bringing at least 445 new jobs over five years and $100 million in investment.

The German company will enlarge its 100-employee pharmaceutical production facility and build a new manufacturing plant. Both facilities will make products used in hospitals and clinics throughout the United States and Canada.

“This expansion is welcome news for Eastern North Carolina and our entire state and shows once again that manufacturing thrives in North Carolina today,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in announcing the expansion.

Fresenius Kabi has owned its Wilson site, specializing in the production of ready-to-administer syringes, since January 2016, when it purchased the site from Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD), along with the BD Simplest line of seven drugs in pre-filled glass syringes.

“Ready-to-administer, prefilled syringes are a growing segment in health care due to increased focus on medication safety and labor-saving efficiency,” John Ducker, president and CEO of Fresenius Kabi USA, said at the time.

Variety of jobs

The Fresenius Kabi expansion will bring new manufacturing jobs for production specialists, engineers, scientists and managers.

“Our strategy is to produce in the U.S. and to invest in products and operations that meet important customer needs while helping make health care more accessible for patients,” said Steven Nowicki, senior vice president of global operations for Fresenius Kabi North America. “We’re pleased to continue this approach at our site in North Carolina.”

The Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina led the state’s support for the company’s expansion. They were joined by the General Assembly, the state Community College System, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Wilson County and the Wilson Economic Development Council.

“Manufacturing represents 22 percent of our state’s economic output, and we’re one of the country’s largest centers for biotechnology,” said state Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “We congratulate Fresenius Kabi for this decision, which helps North Carolina maintain its leadership in manufacturing and the life sciences.”

Courtney Skunda, director of projects and prospects with NCBiotech, said, “This expansion highlights the win-win outcomes made possible by North Carolina’s uncanny ability to transform partnerships into progress.” NCBiotech, for example, provided some basic economic development funding to the project, just as each partner contributed some form of technical or other support.

Key to the expansion is a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee.

Grant terms

Under the terms of the grant, the company agrees to create 445 jobs over five years. If investment targets are met, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $7.2 million, spread over 12 years.

During that time, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $853 million and will bring positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after the reimbursement payments, according to the governor’s office.

Because Fresenius Kabi chose to locate in Wilson County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $803,300 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.

Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 2 county such as Wilson, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities anywhere in the state.

Fresenius Kabi broke ground in September on a $250 million expansion at its pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Melrose Park, Ill. In total, the company employs more than 3,000 people in the U.S. including at its U.S. headquarters in Lake Zurich, Ill.

Fresenius Kabi is a global health care company that specializes in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition in critically or chronically ill patients. Its global headquarters is in Bad Homburg, Germany.

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center