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Sanford Chosen by Leading Life Sciences Firm for New Production Facility

Lee County has been selected by Kyowa Kirin to establish its inaugural North American pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, generating 102 new jobs, as announced by Governor Roy Cooper today. The company’s investment of $200 million will go towards the development of a biologics manufacturing Center of Excellence in Sanford.

During the annual Southeastern United States/Japan (SEUS/Japan) Economic Development Conference in Tokyo in October 2023, the Governor engaged with Kyowa Kirin. Since the Governor’s involvement at the Tokyo Conference, Kyowa Kirin marks the third Japanese company to opt for North Carolina as its operational base.

Governor Cooper expressed his satisfaction with Kyowa Kirin’s decision, stating, “I am delighted to welcome Kyowa Kirin to Lee County for its expansion. North Carolina’s prominence as a life sciences hub for research and manufacturing aligns perfectly with the company’s track record of developing innovative treatments, and we anticipate their prosperity here.”

Kyowa Kirin, a Japan-headquartered global specialty pharmaceutical enterprise, specializes in discovering and delivering high-impact medicines. The company intends to acquire land in the new Helix Innovation Park to construct a cutting-edge manufacturing facility supporting the production and distribution of targeted clinical and commercial biologic therapies. This new facility in Sanford will integrate into Kyowa Kirin’s global manufacturing network, which is undergoing significant investments to boost global capacity, fortify supply chains, and cater to the drug supply requirements for planned clinical trials and future product launches. The completion of the Sanford project is anticipated within four years.

Paul Testa, Executive Vice President — Supply Chain & Manufacturing, North America, commented, “Kyowa Kirin boasts a rich history of advancing novel discoveries from research to practical application. Establishing a new biologics manufacturing Center of Excellence in North America underscores the promising prospects we envision in our product pipeline. We believe the Sanford facility will play a pivotal role in our global manufacturing network by facilitating employee training, delivering impactful medicines, and supporting our regional and global expansion.”

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders remarked, “Kyowa Kirin will find itself among esteemed company in North Carolina, known for its flourishing pharmaceutical sector that surpasses the national average. Furthermore, our Tier 1 research institutions and specialized training collaborations, as endorsed by our ‘First in Talent’ initiative, will aid the company in recruiting the highly skilled workforce necessary for advancing innovative medicines.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce spearheaded the state’s assistance to Kyowa Kirin throughout its site assessment and decision-making process.

While the salary range will vary based on roles, the average salary for the new positions is projected to be \(91,496, exceeding Lee County’s current average wage of \)51,683.

Kyowa Kirin’s North Carolina project will receive support, in part, from a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) granted to Kyowa Kirin North America Manufacturing, LLC. The grant was sanctioned by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the 12-year duration of the grant, the project is forecasted to bolster the state’s economy by \(1.05 billion. The JDIG agreement allows for potential reimbursement to the company of up to \)1,611,000 over 12 years, contingent upon performance verification by the Departments of Commerce and Revenue confirming the company’s fulfillment of incremental job creation and investment benchmarks.

The project’s estimated return on investment from public funds stands at 443 percent, signifying that for every dollar of potential expenditure, the state stands to gain $5.43 in state revenue. JDIG initiatives typically result in a net positive tax revenue for the state treasury, even after accounting for the grant’s reimbursement payments to the recipient company.

As Kyowa Kirin selected a site in Lee County, classified as Tier 2 under the state’s economic tier system, the company’s JDIG agreement entails allocating $179,000 to the state’s Industrial Development Fund — Utility Account. This fund aids rural communities in financing essential infrastructure upgrades to attract future business ventures. Even with job creation in a Tier 2 county like Lee, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants benefits economically disadvantaged communities elsewhere in the state.

N.C. Sen. Jim Burgin expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This is excellent news for Lee County and the entire state. Kyowa Kirin’s arrival further validates North Carolina’s leadership in life sciences and contributes to the diversification of our ecosystem.”

N.C. Rep. John Sauls added, “Kyowa Kirin had the opportunity to expand anywhere globally, yet they opted for Sanford. The high-paying jobs and substantial capital investment will play a role in shaping Sanford’s growing life sciences cluster.”

Collaborating on this project alongside the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, N.C. Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Carolina Core, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Lee County, Sanford Area Growth Alliance, and City of Sanford.