Editor’s note: Each week WRAL TechWire takes a deep dive into a particular company or technology or personality. Today it’s a biotech expansion in Durham.


DURHAM – Catalent, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with two key facilities in North Carolina, will invest $40 million to build a third — a Durham County campus that will create 201 jobs upon completion, according to Gov. Roy Cooper and company officials.

“This has been a banner year for economic development across the state,” said Cooper. “Our global reputation for manufacturing and biotechnology has been a major contributor to welcoming expansions from companies like Catalent. When combined with a some of the brightest talent in the world and innovative businesses, North Carolina will continue to be a desired location for the life science sector.”

Catalent already runs a Center of Excellence for Analytical Services in a site at its Morrisville segment of Research Triangle Park. That site features not only product development, but also manufacturing services for dry powder inhalers.

In August Catalent unleashed plans to invest $475 million to buy Greenville-based CDMO Metrics Contract Services. Metrics’ 400 employees continue to produce a variety of therapeutic products from that 333,000-square-foot facility, now under the Catalent label.

Biotech firm bringing 201 jobs that pay $91,500+ to Durham

The new RTP facility

Catalent’s newest investment is in a facility at 401 Davis Drive in the Durham County segment of North Carolina’s renowned Research Triangle Park.

The company says it will expand its capacity for bioanalytical services for large-molecule drugs there (large-molecule drugs are loosely defined as those manufactured from living organisms, while small-molecule drugs are chemically synthesized). It’s the latest in a growing body of companies involved in cell and gene therapies in North Carolina.

“Catalent is committed to the continuous growth and expansion of its analytical capabilities,” said Jeremie Trochu, division head for bioanalytics at Catalent. “By establishing significant additional capacity here on the East Coast, we can offer our customers greater flexibility and expanded support services across the biologics and advanced modalities development pipeline.”

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How the deal came together

The state Department of Commerce’s Economic Investment Committee approved a Jobs Development Investment Grant of $1,074,000 to secure the expansion. North Carolina had competition directly from Kansas, Missouri and Virginia for the Catalent expansion project. The new jobs, paying an average of $91,502, will be filled over a five-year period running to 2027, and the project is expected to add $378 million to the state’s gross domestic product and increase net state revenue by $8.3 million.

“North Carolina is a leading life sciences cluster with a 10% increase in pharmaceutical manufacturing businesses over the past five years,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States, Tier 1 research network, and a strong transportation system for global distribution, we believe Catalent will be successful doing business here.”

Catalent invests in sites that provide return on its investments. It has established more than 50 of them around the world that supply about 80 billion doses of nearly 8,000 products annually. The company, headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, specializes in drug development, delivery and manufacturing, biologics, gene therapies and consumer health products. With a workforce of approximately 19,000, it generated nearly $5 billion in annual sales in fiscal 2022.

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North Carolina is a leader in the sector

North Carolina has blossomed into a global go-to for large-molecule discovery, development and manufacturing. Catalent, a major S&P 500 company, is one of many embracing what North Carolina offers.

“Catalent’s decision to expand its capabilities in RTP is a testament to its confidence in North Carolina’s life sciences ecosystem,” said Laura Rowley, Ph.D., vice president of life sciences economic development for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. “Today’s announcement will create much-needed bioanalytical capacity to support the development required to bring innovative new biologic drugs to market.”

In addition to NC Biotech, the state Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., other key partners on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Durham County and the Durham Chamber.