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Friday, May 24, 2024

Fujifilm expands Wake County project with 680 more jobs, average pay $110,000

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plans to expand its biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Wake County, adding 680 jobs and investing $1.2 billion in Holly Springs. State and local officials are promising about $80 million in incentives.

In 2021, Fujifilm announced it would construct one of North America’s largest end-to-end biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in Holly Springs, creating 725 jobs and investing $2 billion. The expanded project brings the total Fujifilm investment to $3.2 billion and about 1,400 jobs by 2031, according to reports.

The expansion in North Carolina will be aided by a $14.9 million Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. The grant will be spread out over 12 years. Payments will only be made if the company meets its job creation and investment targets. North Carolina agreed to give Fujifilm a similar grant of more than $19.7 million in 2021.

State officials say the state expects to receive $3.98 of revenue for every dollar of potential cost. The state will also move as much as $4.99 million into a fund that will help Wake County improve infrastructure for the project.

The company also has a two-stage deal with Holly Springs, Town Manager Randy Harrington said. Its first $10 million in property taxes will go toward “strategic transportation investments,” yet to be determined, around the town and near the factory.

Once that’s done, the town is providing a six-year “business investment grant” that will pay back 50% of the company’s property taxes. That give-back will amount to about $23.7 million.

Wake County’s also shipping in $30.6 million, according to information given to the state’s Economic Investment Committee.

“We’re not just putting out the welcome mat for you,” Wake County Commissioners Chairwoman Shinica Thomas told company President Lars Petersen. “We are rolling out the red carpet.”

The expansion is “another example of the thriving economic relationship between North Carolina and Japan, and we are grateful for their continuing investments in our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release. “Japanese companies continue to provide good-paying jobs and economic opportunity for people across North Carolina.”

Positions at the facility will include engineers, scientists, manufacturing personnel, and other support positions. The average annual wage is $109,923, exceeding the Wake County average of $74,866.

These new jobs could create a potential payroll impact of more than $74.4 million for the region each year. On its website, Fujifilm says it will be hiring 725 new employees by 2028.

The company’s North Carolina site has been in operation since 1996. The campus has expanded to include three buildings that house the company’s Process Development and Analytical Laboratories, cGMP Manufacturing Facility, and Administration. The site had more than 600 employees in 2021.

Based in Denmark, Fujifilm develops life-saving products, such as recombinant proteins, viral vaccines, viral vectors, monoclonal antibodies, and other large molecules and medical countermeasures. It’s a subsidiary of Tokyo-based conglomerate Fujifilm, which acquired the business from Merck in 2011.

The life sciences company, which also has operations in the United Kingdom and Texas, offers a comprehensive list of services from cell line development, using its proprietary cell line systems, to process development, analytical development and clinical and FDA-approved commercial manufacturing.

“We are committed to supporting a healthier society by providing state-of-the-art manufacturing expertise and capabilities which enable our partners to bring life-impacting medicines to patients in the United States and worldwide,” said Lars Petersen, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth, in a release. “North Carolina, in particular Holly Springs, is the ideal location for the $1.2 billion expansion of our large-scale cell culture biomanufacturing site, because of its sustainable energy resources, infrastructure, and strong pool of diverse and highly-skilled talent.”

Thursday’s announcement comes as Cooper is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Cooper attended a White House State Dinner on Wednesday with President Joe Biden and Kishida. On Friday, the prime minister and his wife, Yuko Kishida, are scheduled to visit Cooper at the Executive Mansion for lunch and visits to major Japanese employers in North Carolina.

In October 2023, Cooper led a North Carolina delegation to Japan to the annual Southeastern United States/Japan Economic Development Conference in Tokyo to recruit industry and meet with business leaders. N.C. officials met with senior Fujifilm executives to discuss the Holly Springs project.

About 225 Japanese companies have presences in North Carolina. In the past decade, Japan has accounted for nearly half of all foreign direct investment in the state, making it the state’s largest source of foreign direct investment. Companies making those investments include Toyota, Honda Aircraft and Dai Nippon Printing.

More than 30,500 North Carolinians now work at Japanese-owned companies, with thousands more scheduled to start in the next five years.

Last October, Toyota announced plans to invest an additional $8 billion in its electric battery manufacturing site in Randolph County, including hiring another 3,000 employees. Toyota’s total investment in the Randolph County site will now total $13.9 billion and more than 5,000 jobs.

This year’s Southeast U.S./Japan Conference will be held Oct. 27-29 in Charlotte.

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