RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Mike McBrierty, the associate director of state public policy and government affairs for Biogen, will serve as the new chairman of NCBIO, the trade association of North Carolina’s bioscience industry.  And he has a full slate of challenges ahead of him.

“Mike has been a great contributor to NCBIO’s success throughout his terms on our Board,” said Sam Taylor, president of NCBIO in an interview.   “His insights into the industry, political climate and public perceptions of North Carolina’s growing life science cluster will be a tremendous asset going forward.”


McBrierty succeeds Tom Staab, senior vice president and CFO of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, who will remain on the board and the executive committee of NCBIO.

“NCBIO has a strong record of advocating for and serving the growing life science industry in the State,” said McBrierty in a statement.  “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with NCBIO’s staff and membership to develop a strong policy agenda to present to the 2019 session of the North Carolina General Assembly and the 116th session of the U.S. Congress.”

He will be busy on multiple fronts.

Tackling three critical issues

“The key issues facing the life science industry right now are workforce, capital formation, and public misunderstanding about the value proposition of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Taylor in an interview.  McBrierty, Taylor, the elected officers, and the executive committee will focus on these three areas as significant change comes to the North Carolina General Assembly and to the United States Congress.

According to Taylor, North Carolina committed more than $75 million to life science workforce training facilities and equipment in the decade between 2001 and 2010.  That investment has produced more than $5 billion in biopharmaceutical manufacturing investment and thousands of jobs, said Taylor.

“We cannot rest on our laurels,” said Taylor.  “New therapies and manufacturing processes are coming online and North Carolina’s biomanufacturing workforce infrastructure needs to keep up.”

Life science companies across the state continue to raise capital for promising therapies and treatments.  Consider Precision BioScience: the company raised a significant amount of capital in 2018.  First, the company captured $110 million in a Series B in June, and then later announced a deal worth $445 million with Gilead Sciences.   Humacyte raised $150 million from Boston-based Fresenius Medical Care to commercialize bioengineered blood vessel technology and later named Jeffrey Lawson as the company’s new president and CEO.

Yet, even with those blockbuster deals, and the manufacturing prowess of North Carolina’s bioscience companies, said Taylor, “North Carolina continues to lag other states in access to local venture capital.”

The organization will be proposing legislation to increase access to local venture capital by assuring that life science start-up companies get the most out of their venture funders’ investments as a major policy priority, said Taylor.

“NCBIO will devote significant resources in 2019 to characterizing the specific investments our State should make in order to remain a top biopharmaceutical manufacturing state.”

Leadership team

McBrierty election to chairman is the only leadership changes among the organization’s elected officers.  Taylor remains president.  Tom Fagley of Hughes Pittman & Gupton remains treasurer and Casey Nelson of NCBIO remains Secretary.

McBrierty is responsible for promoting Biogen’s state-level policy interests in the southern region of the United States and works closely with industry, patient community and state government groups across his territory to advance policies that support the research, development, and delivery of innovative biopharmaceutical products.  Before joining Biogen’s Government Affairs team in 2013, McBrierty was the Public Affairs Lead at Biogen’s site in Research Triangle Park and served as North Carolina Director of the Biogen Foundation and as a member of the company’s RTP leadership team.

NCBIO members elected to serve on the executive committee are Chris Capel (Smith Anderson), Jay Dixon (PPD), Maeve Gardner (GlaxoSmithKline), Christof Jensen (UCB), Scott Kohne (BASF), Scott Sewell (Cook Medical), Tom Staab (BioCryst), Susan Thomason (IQVIA), Rich West (Baebies), and Tim Willis (MED1 Ventures).  Peyton Anderson has now retired from the executive committee due to the end of the appropriate term limit.