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Jaguar Gene Therapy Establishes Durham County, North Carolina, GMP Complex

Jaguar Gene Therapy, an Illinois-based gene therapy company, will invest more than $125 million to locate a 174,000-square-foot GMP facility at Research Triangle Park in Durham County, North Carolina. The project is expected to create 200 jobs.

Once fully converted to the company's gene therapy manufacturing specifications, the GMP location will support future clinical and commercial production of the company’s initial programs, including: galactosemia; a specific genetic cause of autism; and Type 1 diabetes. The facility is approximately 20 miles from Jaguar’s existing Process Sciences Laboratory in Cary.

“Our new GMP facility represents a major step forward for Jaguar in our mission to accelerate gene therapy breakthroughs in patient populations with large unmet need,” said Andrew Knudten, M.S., MBA, COO of Jaguar Gene Therapy. “North Carolina is known for its innovation in biotechnology and its highly talented workforce, both of which are crucial as we strive to raise the bar for manufacturing safe and effective gene therapies.”

This expansion by Jaguar Gene Therapy will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. The JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2,355,000 spread over 12 years. Payments for all JDIGs 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 Jaguar Gene Therapy is expanding in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $785,000 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 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.

“North Carolina’s diverse life sciences presence continues to attract innovative biopharmaceutical companies," said Governor Roy Cooper. “Jaguar’s expansion into biomanufacturing in Research Triangle Park, together with its process sciences laboratory in Cary, reinforces North Carolina’s reputation as a premier location for these companies."

Jaguar Gene Therapy is focused on accelerating breakthroughs in gene therapy for larger patient populations suffering from severe genetic diseases and is led by experts in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of novel gene therapy treatments.

“With a strong roster of globally recognized biomanufacturers and gene and cell therapy leaders, North Carolina is a top choice for growing biotech companies,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “North Carolina has world-renowned researchers, Tier 1 universities and strategic partnerships to maintain our thriving life sciences ecosystem. With our First in Talent plan, workforce training will continue to develop the diverse and highly-skilled talent for the life changing work that companies like Jaguar will create both now and in the future.”

In addition to the N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham County, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Duke Energy.

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