Biopharma company Pfizer are continuing their expansion through its recent investment in a new $100 million gene therapy facility based in North Carolina. Situated in Lee County, the new facility will enable the development of its commercial manufacturing capabilities and production of new gene therapy medicines for patients.
However, the facility will only see Pfizer employ 40 new staff members, a move which will surprise many, considering such a large investment has been agreed.
Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper has stated that the facility will “build upon a technology first developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
North Carolina is one of the few places in the country with the biotech resources to take an idea all the way from the lab to the manufacturing line. Pfizer’s investment in Lee County is a prime example of how North Carolina’s world-class universities and cutting-edge industries work together to move our state forward.”
The expansion will see the development of Pfizer’s focus on gene therapy in order to address the root cause of diseases caused by genetic mutations. The technology involves introducing genetic material into the body to deliver a correct copy of a gene to a patient’s cells to compensate for a defective or missing gene.
The move links with the company’s acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics for approximately $640 million, which will support Pfizer’s ambitions in gene therapies for patients who suffer with conditions which are neuromuscular, or involve the central nervous system. Additionally, Pfizer is planning to invest $4 million in supporting universities in North Carolina and its students who wish to undertake postdoctoral research in this field.
“Innovation drives economic opportunity and expansion,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Pfizer’s decision to expand in North Carolina proves how our investments in education pay off in new jobs and new solutions to the world’s toughest challenges.”
The One North Carolina Fund is set to provide Pfizer with a $250,000 performance grant to support Pfizer’s expansion. It will also enable economic growth and create further research jobs in the region in the future.