Sunday, April 14, 2024

Japanese pharma company to build plant in Sanford, add 102 jobs

A Japanese pharmaceutical company announced plans Tuesday to build a manufacturing plant in Sanford that will cost $200 million and add 102 jobs.

Kyowa Kirin plans to purchase land in the new Helix Innovation Park for the manufacturing facility to support the production and supply of targeted clinical and commercial drugs. The company specializes in hematological cancers, rare diseases and neurological conditions.

Kyowa Kirin wants to increase its global capacity, create more resilient and efficient supply lines, and produce the drug supply needed for planned clinical trials and future product launches. Kyowa Kirin expects to complete the project in four years.

“Establishing a new center of excellence for biologics manufacturing in North America is a testament to the promising potential we see in our pipeline,” says Paul Testa, executive vice president for supply chain and manufacturing in North America, in a statement. “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.”

Although wages will vary depending on the position, the average salary for the new positions will be $91,496, which exceeds the current average wage in Lee County of $51,683.

Kyowa Kirin’s project will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant, which was approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier Tuesday.

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 $1.6 million 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%, meaning for every dollar of potential cost, the state receives $5.43 in state revenue.

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.

Since Gov. Roy Cooper’s participation at an October 2023 conference in Tokyo, Kyowa Kirin is the third Japanese company to select North Carolina for its operations.

Kyowa Kirin has North America offices in Princeton, New Jersey, and La Jolla, California.

In October 2023, Kyowa Kirin announced an agreement to acquire Orchard Therapeutics for $387 million to bolster its gene therapy pipeline.

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at

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