Statewide: Triangle region, October 2014
Though most diseases it aims to treat aren’t household names, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals might soon become one. The Durham biotech, which develops drugs mainly for rare ailments, received three installments totaling about $8.5 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to treat hemorrhagic fevers, which include Ebola. The contract is worth as much as $26.3 million. Patients suffering from Ebola in Africa won’t be treated with the drug, which will be tested on primates. In June, BioCryst — which moved from Birmingham, Ala., in 2010 — completed a secondary public offering worth nearly $107 million, propelling it from unlisted to No. 38 on Business North Carolina’s Top 75 ranking of the state’s largest public companies (“Go With the Gut,” August). The federal Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any of the company’s drugs yet, but it is reviewing Peramivir, which treats seasonal flu. It’s approved in Japan and South Korea, and an order from the U.S. government could prove lucrative. BioCryst’s most-promising drug is its treatment of hereditary angiodema, an immune-system disease that causes potentially fatal swelling in airways, face and limbs. Doctors like the drug because it is taken orally, while competitor Cinryze is administered intravenously. That led Cory Kasimov, an analyst at New York-based JP Morgan Chase & Co., to initiate coverage of BioCryst in August with an “overweight” rating and price target of $20.
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory named Lee Roberts state budget director to replace Art Pope, who resigned after 1½ years in the job. Roberts, 45, was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Raleigh-based VantageSouth Bancshares prior to its merger with Elkin-based Yadkin Financial this year. He also founded Coley Capital, a real-estate investment company based here, in 2009.
NEW HILL — Performance Fibers, which makes industrial fibers for products such as tire reinforcements and seat belts, will close its plant here, letting go about 230 workers by Jan. 31, 2015. Some will be eligible for work at the Huntersville-based company’s Salisbury plant, where it will add 75 jobs and invest $25 million to expand and consolidate operations.
CARY — Ply Gem Holdings will buy Columbus, Ohio-based Simonton Windows, which makes vinyl replacement windows, from Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands Home & Security for about $130 million. Ply Gem manufactures windows, patio doors, vinyl siding and fencing products and employs 7,000 people across North America, including more than 125 in North Carolina. The deal is expected to close in October.
RALEIGH — Highwoods Properties named Mark Mulhern chief financial officer, replacing Terry Stevens, who was scheduled to retire by the end of last month. Mulhern has been on the real-estate investment trust’s board since 2012 and was CFO of Raleigh-based Progress Energy from 2008 until its merger with Charlotte-based Duke Energy in 2012. He became CFO of Dallas-based EXCO Resources last year.
SILER CITY — Carolina Premium Foods will pay $4 million to renovate a 95,500-square-foot chicken-processing plant here and plans to create more than 300 jobs within five years. Georgetown, Del.-based Townsends occupied the plant before filing for bankruptcy in 2011. The Whispering Pines-based organic-chicken producer will receive $750,000 in state grants if it creates at least 38 jobs.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — North Carolina Biotechnology Center named Doug Edgeton president last month. He was president of Piedmont Triad Research Park, now called Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, in Winston-Salem from 2007 to 2012, when he joined the biotech center as senior vice president for financial planning and development. He succeeds Norris Tolson, who stepped down in February.