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NC Biomanufacturers Supply Defense for World vs. Flu
Date:4/29/2009

Huge GSK, Novartis, Merck plants help define state's economic successes

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The global fight against swine flu is shining a spotlight on North Carolina's long-term commitment to biomanufacturing.

Global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, with North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park, is one of the world's two key manufacturers of antiviral flu treatments. GSK makes Relenza at its plant in Zebulon, about 25 miles east of its headquarters campus.

GSK and Swiss drug company Roche, which makes Tamiflu, have notified the World Health Organization that this new strain of the swine-flu virus seems to respond to their medicines.

"When we're called upon to tackle these kinds of disease outbreaks, North Carolina's excellent base of medical research and pharmaceutical manufacturing puts us among global leaders," said E. Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

North Carolina has invested $1.2 billion in steady bioscience growth during the past decade, said Tolson. "Some states aren't so interested in manufacturing. But at times like these, it becomes clear why these science-driven factories are so crucial."

Hundreds of workers at GSK's Zebulon factory have made medicines to supply the world for more than two decades. Meanwhile, Novartis has a flu-vaccine plant under construction at the edge of Holly Springs, about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh.

Read the full story online.

The Biotechnology Center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide.

Contact: Chris Brodie, vice president of corporate communications, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, chris_brodie@ncbiotech.org or 919-541-9366. Visit the Biotechnology Center's Web site at www.ncbiotech.org.


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SOURCE North Carolina Biotechnology Center
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