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Japan-Based Kyowa Kirin Plans Sanford, North Carolina, Biologics Center of Excellence

Japan-based Kyowa Kirin, a specialty pharmaceutical company, plans to establish its first North American pharmaceutical manufacturing operation in Sanford, North Carolina. The $200 million project is expected to create 102 jobs in Lee County.

The new biologics manufacturing Center of Excellence, located at Helix Innovation Park, will support production and supply of targeted clinical and commercial biologic therapies.

“Kyowa Kirin has a long and proud history of advancing novel discoveries from bench to bedside. Establishing a new center of excellence for biologics manufacturing in North America is a testament to the promising potential we see in our pipeline,” said Paul Testa, Executive Vice President – Supply Chain & Manufacturing, North America. “We believe the Sanford facility will become a vital part of our global manufacturing network - helping us train employees, deliver medicines with life-changing value, and support our future growth as a region and as a global business.”

The project is being supported, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) awarded to Kyowa Kirin North America Manufacturing, LLC, which was approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.05 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs and the capital investment, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,611,000, 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. The project's projected return on investment of public dollars is 443 percent, meaning for every dollar of potential cost, the state receives $5.43 in state revenue. 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.

“Kyowa Kirin will be in great company in North Carolina with its thriving pharmaceutical industry that is twice as large as the national average,” noted N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Even more importantly, our Tier 1 research institutions and unique training partnerships, as supported by our First in Talent plan, will help the company recruit the highly skilled talent they need to continue developing novel medicines.”

Because Kyowa Kirin chose a site in Lee County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving $179,000 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 Lee, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.

“Welcoming a new company like Kyowa Kirin to our state is the product of collaboration with partners such as NCBiotech. Our colleagues at NCBiotech provide a level of expertise that highlights North Carolina’s long-term commitment and leadership in the life sciences industry,” added Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). “Our state’s life sciences industry launched in the 1950s, and we have leveraged this foundation to become a premier biomanufacturing location. We look forward to Kyowa Kirin’s contribution to the region and Lee County’s success.”

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, 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.

“This investment by a well-established, global specialty pharma company is a testament to the cooperation and coordination of the state’s economic development groups and officials in Sanford and Lee County,” said Laura Rowley, vice president, life science economic development, NCBiotech. “We were able to provide the life sciences expertise for this project, but that’s just one element of the total package that North Carolina offered. Our life sciences ecosystem and workforce development horsepower helped us stand out as Kyowa Kirin selected NC from among other areas around the country.”

Kyowa Kirin applies state-of-the-art biotechnologies to discover and deliver novel medicines. The company currently operates three offices in New Jersey and California that focus on drug discovery, product development, and commercialization.

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