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Cellectis Plans Manufacturing Complex in Wake County, North Carolina

03/08/2019
Cellectis, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, is planning to create up to 200 jobs as it locates its U.S. commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Wake County, North Carolina.

Governor Roy Cooper’s Office said the company is developing immunotherapies based on gene-edited allogeneic CAR T-cells.Founded in 1999, Cellectis harnesses the immune system to target and eradicate cancers. With teams in Paris and in New York, the company uses gene editing to develop cost-effective, “off-the-shelf” allogeneic product candidates from healthy donor T-cells that would be immediately available for patients across all geographies.

“Cellectis intends to build the world’s first manufacturing facility in North Carolina that will put together gene editing and cell therapies. This state-of-the-art facility will reflect our cutting-edge advances in manufacturing sophisticated gene-edited cell therapies at a commercial scale,” said André Choulika, Chairman & CEO of Cellectis.

“We benchmarked several locations within North Carolina and in other states and selected Raleigh which combined multiple advantages, including a strong state support and willingness to welcome world-class innovative companies. Cellectis' priorities are very much aligned to North Carolina's and we are pleased with this partnership to write this new page of our history,” Choulika added.

Cellectis intends to create a variety of positions in Wake County, including scientists, engineers, analysts, manufacturing and operations personnel with jobs above the county average salary. Once all positions are filled, the annual payroll impact will be more than $20 million.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. led the state’s support for the company’s expansion.

Cellectis’ expansion in Wake County will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee.

Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $1.4 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 $1,999,500 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 Cellectis chose to locate in Wake County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $666,500 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 3 county such as Wake, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center provided technical due diligence for this project, one of several recent projects that adds depth to the state’s biotech industry cluster.

“Once life science companies like Cellectis understand the advantages that North Carolina offers to biomanufacturers, they’re eager to locate here,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “This industry cluster is very important to us and we’re delighted that another strong partner will be taking advantage of the world-class talent, educational resources and important infrastructure elements available here.”

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