Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Governor Cooper Announces 325 Jobs as Biopharmaceutical Manufacturer Selects Lee County Abzena will invest $213 million to create a manufacturing plant in Sanford

Raleigh, N.C.
Apr 13, 2021

Abzena Holdings (US) LLC, a life sciences contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), will locate a significant biopharmaceutical manufacturing site in Lee County, creating 325 jobs and investing $213 million in Sanford, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

“Abzena recognized North Carolina as a leader in biotechnology and knew this was the right place to develop and manufacture new medicines and grow their business,” said Governor Cooper.

Abzena, with headquarters in San Diego, California and sites in Bristol, Pennsylvania and Cambridge, United Kingdom offers its customers solutions in integrated early discovery to mid-phase pharmaceutical production. Working with companies and academic groups from around the world, including many of the top biopharmaceutical brands, Abzena supports the development and manufacture of better treatments for patients.  The company’s project in Lee County will establish a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility featuring a design optimized for phase 3 and commercial manufacturing of biologics. Using a phased construction approach, the company will initially build four modular production suites, with each of those suites capable of housing two large bioreactors.

“We are very appreciative for the entire team representing North Carolina for their partnership and the office of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis during the decision process” said Jonathan Goldman MD, CEO of Abzena. “We are delighted to support our customers and the patients they serve with this investment in North Carolina. This builds on the successful launch of our second cGMP biologics facility in San Diego in 2020. We are pleased to provide high quality integrated drug development services covering research as well as the clinical and commercial phases without the need for technology transfer.

“Innovative companies set a high bar for excellence, and with today’s decision, North Carolina once again meets and exceeds those standards,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “We welcome Abzena to the state’s growing life science industry cluster. As a former executive in this industry myself, it’s great to see how North Carolina is leading the way in the product lifecycle for new medicines that will improve and save lives.”

Although specific wages will vary depending on job role, the aggregate average salary of the new positions will reach $63,308, bringing $19.1 million of positive payroll impact into the regional economy each year.  The current average wage in Lee County stands at $42,516. 

Abzena’s project in North Carolina, which will be formally carried out by a new, wholly owned subsidiary company, will be facilitated 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 $1.5 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $6,940,800, spread over 12 years.  Over those 12 years, new state tax revenues generated by the new jobs will exceed $45 million.

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.

Abzena’s JDIG agreement could also move as much as $771,200 into a fund that helps rural communities across the state attract business in the future. When companies select a site located in a Tier 2 county such as Lee, their JDIG agreements move some of the new tax revenue into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. Local communities in more economically challenged areas of the state use grants from the Utility Account to build public infrastructure projects, which can improve a community’s ability to attract companies to their regions.

“We welcome these new biomanufacturing jobs to Lee County,” said N.C. Representative John Sauls. “Our region is a vital part of North Carolina’s growing life science industry cluster, and we’re excited to see the many opportunities that Abzena will bring to our community.”

“Many economic development partners worked together to bring this investment to Lee County,” said N.C. Senator Jim Burgin. “These community partners will continue to collaborate with Abzena to help the company succeed now and for many years to come.”

Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Office of Senator Thom Tillis, Duke Energy, the City of Sanford, Lee County, and the Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

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