RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – West Pharmaceutical Services, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of drug-packaging and delivery components in the Eastern North Carolina community of Kinston for the last four decades, will invest another $70+ million and add some 70 more employees to expand its production capacity there.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement Tuesday came just a year after the company embarked on a $19 million expansion, adding about 90 new jobs to the Lenoir County plant’s current workforce that now exceeds 500.

The Kinston plant produces a variety of rubber components, such as stoppers for vials and plungers for pre-filled syringes, many of which are being used with vaccines and therapeutic medicines to treat COVID-19 patients. Last year’s expansion added new presses, mold trim and dies, and other equipment used to manufacture rubber primary packaging components for the containment and delivery of medicines.

Kinston site for West Pharma
The West Pharma campus in Kinston. — West Pharmaceutical Services photo

“This expansion is a welcome example of the advantages that North Carolina offers companies of all kinds,” said Cooper. “With a convenient location, premier quality of life and a world-class workforce, rural communities across the state are proving to be viable places for global companies to do business.”

Today’s expansion plans include increased production capacity, warehouse, and distribution space.

“We are so fortunate to have West Pharmaceutical Services, a world-class manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products, to continue its investment in its Kinston facility,” said Mark Phillips, vice president of statewide operations and executive director of the Eastern Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. “This continued growth will provide significant workforce opportunities to continue delivering high-value packaging components to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers around the world.”

West Pharmaceutical investing additional $70M, will add 70+ jobs in Kinston

Mike Fischer, site director at West’s Kinston facility, said “We are pleased to continue our growth in Kinston, which will help support our mission of improving patient lives around the globe. I’m proud of our team members and the work they do every day. We look forward to being able to support our local community with more job opportunities as a result of this expansion and are excited to contribute to a continued bright future in Kinston.”

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders added, “When West could have expanded anywhere in the world, they still chose Lenoir County. With the largest manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States, North Carolina has a firm commitment to developing and delivering a diverse pool of talent through a robust workforce training system.”

Although wages will vary for each position, the average annual salary for the new positions will exceed Lenoir County’s overall average annual wage. The new jobs have the potential to create an annual payroll impact of more than $3.4 million for the region.

A performance-based grant of $300,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with West’s expansion. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“This incredible expansion will provide additional opportunities for our community,” said N.C. Senator Jim Perry. “We applaud the many economic development professionals and local officials that helped this project come to fruition.”

West Pharmaceutical Services increasing eastern NC workforce by more than 20%

“We appreciate West’s increased investment in Lenoir County,” said N.C. Representative Chris Humphrey. “The company’s continued investment in our community affirms our ability to fulfill the needs of growing companies.”

In addition to support from NCBiotech, the N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College, the North Carolina Global TransPark Economic Development Region, Lenoir County, City of Kinston, and North Carolina’s Southeast.

North Carolina’s decades-long commitment to developing the life sciences sector has made the state a magnet for companies selecting sites for their manufacturing operations. It helped NCBiotech and a statewide coalition of public and private partner organizations and institutions receive a federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge award in December. They submitted a wide-ranging proposal entitled “Accelerating Life Science Manufacturing to Create Economic Resilience and Promote Equity in Distressed North Carolina Communities.” The phase 1 award of up to $500,000 is helping academia, industry, state and local government, and other partners to work together to develop strategies that can expand, connect, scale, and promote the state’s life sciences manufacturing cluster, including Eastern North Carolina expansion.

A global company

West, headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania, has been in business for nearly a century. It has almost 10,000 employees at about 50 sites worldwide.

The company provides over 40 billion components and devices each year to the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

“We have a real sense of pride about our mission of improving patient lives and the critical role West is playing in the production of components being used directly in the fight against COVID-19,” Haman said. “Our team members have been outstanding throughout this pandemic, with high levels of engagement and commitment.”

In 2020 West generated over $2.1 billion in net sales. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WST and is included on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center