ProKidney, Corp., a late clinical-stage cellular therapeutics company focused on chronic kidney disease (CKD), will be establishing a new biomanufacturing facility in Guilford County, potentially creating up to 330 jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company also sees a potential investment of up to $485 million, of which $25.5 million will be invested at the closing on the facility in Greensboro, to prepare for future commercial manufacturing of REACT® (REnal Autologous Cell Therapy), the company’s lead product candidate being developed for the treatment of chronic kidney disease.
“Innovative life science companies like ProKidney understand that North Carolina offers the key ingredients for business success,” said Governor Cooper. “Our leadership in this important industry sector is recognized around the world, thanks to the specialized workforce training and education systems that support North Carolina’s biotech companies.”
ProKidney, headquartered in Winston-Salem, is a pioneer in the development of a cell-based treatment for CKD. The Company was founded in 2018 after more than a decade of research. ProKidney’s lead product candidate, REACT, is a first-of-its-kind, patented, proprietary therapy with the potential to preserve kidney function in patients at high risk of kidney failure. ProKidney’s approach utilizes a patient’s own kidney cells in the treatment process. The company’s project in Guilford County will establish a 210,000 square foot manufacturing facility that looks to feature multiple breakthroughs in the manufacturing automation, supply chain, and medical delivery of cellular therapy products.
“We considered many factors in determining where best to build future commercial manufacturing capacity for REACT®,” said Dr. Tim Bertram, Chief Executive Officer of ProKidney. “Because of North Carolina’s depth and breadth of biotechnology talent, the advantage of locating the plant near our headquarters and pilot manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem, NC, and the state’s interest in continuing to grow its biotechnology industry, we determined that adding manufacturing capacity here in Greensboro would be in the best interest of ProKidney, its shareholders and its local stakeholders. We look forward to continue growing our business along with the state that we have called home since our founding.”
“As a former executive in the biotech industry, I’m proud to see North Carolina’s continued leadership in this industry, which means so much for both our economy and for people’s health and wellbeing,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “We never take for granted the importance of a strong, well-trained workforce to keep us ahead of the pack. As our First in Talent strategic plan makes clear, we’ll continue to invest in our people and the educational systems that create opportunities for everyone.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company during its site evaluation and decision-making process.
Although wages will vary depending on the position, the average salary for the new positions at the facility are estimated to be $74,636. The current average wage in Guilford County is $57,190.
ProKidney’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.7 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 330 new jobs, along with a company investment of $485 million, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $5,132,700, spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
Because ProKidney chose a site in Guilford County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving $570,300 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 Guilford, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.
“We’re excited to see a local North Carolina company decide to expand in our area,” said N.C. Senator Michael Garrett. “ProKidney’s work to improve the health of people with kidney disease is inspiring, and this project will also bring new jobs and economic vitality to Greensboro, Guilford County, and the entire region.”
“North Carolina is known as a biotech and life science leader, and Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad region are an important part of that story,” said N.C. Representative John Faircloth. “Our community applauds ProKidney’s continued success and we stand ready to support them during this next phase of their company’s growth.”
Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Duke Energy, Guilford Technical Community College, Guilford County, the City of Greensboro, the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance, and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.