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North Carolina's Biotechnology Investment Tops Billion-Dollar Mark; Battelle Study Quantifies Economic Dividends and Jobs

Total impact of NC's biotechnology sector is $45.8 billion, 180,007 jobs

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- North Carolina has invested more than $1 billion in its expanding biotechnology enterprise during the past 10 years, and the annual economic impact exceeds $45 billion, according to data released today at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Center, and leaders from the government, education and academic institutions that made those investments spoke at a news conference Thursday about the significance of the investment in building a foundation for future growth.

"Smart, steady investment in biotechnology has created a major economic engine in North Carolina," said Tolson.

"This technology will help us meet the major global needs of the future -- health care, energy and food. But it also brings tangible benefits to North Carolinians in the form of jobs, and the potential is there for many more."

The success of the biotechnology industry and the statewide partnerships that support it were verified by the findings of an economic-impact study from the Battelle Memorial Institute's Technology Partnership Practice.

Battelle's Simon Tripp, who led the study, discussed quantitative and qualitative data on the benefits derived from North Carolina's unique 24-year history in bioscience investment. The 133-page report included research data as well as survey information from biotech stakeholders and CEOs of affiliated companies around the state.

"In the 21st century, which many have termed the Biocentury, biotechnology is expected to be a key engine of economic growth in the United States," said the executive summary of the study, Evidence and Opportunity -- Biotechnology Impacts in North Carolina.

"Battelle's analysis finds that North Carolina is extremely well-positioned to experience substantial further growth and development from biotechnology."

Concurrent with the Battelle report, Biotechnology Center personnel and colleagues at partner institutions and organizations established that in just the past decade, North Carolina has committed more than $1.2 billion to bioscience funding via:

  • $857 million in research and facilities;
  • $135 million toward workforce training;
  • $115 million to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; and
  • $102 million in direct company incentives.

These investments support an industry that, as measured by the Battelle study, directly contributes $28.7 billion annually to the state's economy and creates 53,200 jobs. The total impact climbs to $45.8 billion and 180,007 jobs when all spending by those companies and their employees, termed indirect and induced impacts, are counted.

The Battelle analysis lauded the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, saying it "has clearly generated a comprehensive and well thought-out series of programs and initiatives that support every link in this development chain."

Tripp said the Battelle study found that companies that receive financial assistance from the Biotechnology Center return $26.8 million a year in state taxes alone. These companies have attracted $99 in additional external funding for every dollar loaned to them by the Center.

Faculty recruitment grants from the Biotechnology Center have drawn 52 high-profile bioscience faculty to the state's universities. Those researchers have brought in $363 million in external funds from sources such as the National Institutes of Health -- a 37-to-one leverage.

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 and education statewide.

The full report, including an executive summary, is available at

A detailed accounting of the $1.2 billion in spending is located at

Contact: Robin Deacle, director of corporate communications, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, or 919-541-9366. Visit the Biotechnology Center's Web site at

Speakers include:

  • Leslie Boney III, associate vice president for economic development research, policy, and planning with the University of North Carolina;

  • Jonathan Gindes, MBA, chief financial officer and senior vice president of business development for Affinergy, a Research Triangle Park company that has received Biotechnology Center funding support;

  • John Hardin, Ph.D., acting executive director of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology;

  • Reginald Holt, employee development coordinator at the newly opened Merck vaccine plant in Durham and one of the many North Carolina workers who have enjoyed significant career advancement via the state's workforce training programs and other bioscience support;

  • Matthew Meyer, director of the North Carolina Community Colleges' BioNetwork biotechnology training program;

  • Sam Taylor, president of the North Carolina Biosciences Organization;

  • Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center;

  • Simon Tripp, principal consultant with the Battelle Memorial Institute's Technology Partnership Practice.

Key Findings of the Battelle Report include:

As of 2006, the latest year for data totals:

  • The biotechnology sector directly produced yearly revenue in North Carolina of $28.7 billion.
  • Biotechnology employed 53,200 people.
  • Biotech directly provided annual payroll of $4.5 billion.
  • The state's biotech employees earn an average $69,725 a year ($32,000 more than other private-sector workers in the state).
  • Employee compensation for direct, indirect and induced impact is $9.4 billion.
  • State and local tax revenues from the total economic impact is $1.4 billion.

From 2001 to 2006

  • Net job growth in the state's bioscience sector was 18.5 percent.
  • That rate of growth is three times the national bioscience rate.
  • North Carolina easily leads the top 10 biotech states' in this statistic.
  • Biotech job growth was five times that of the rest of North Carolina's private business sector.

Pharmaceuticals and medical research and testing provide the foundation, but North Carolina has targeted a wide range of other biotechnology applications, including:

  • agriculture
  • natural products and integrative medicine
  • nutraceuticals
  • aquaculture and marine biotechnology
  • biofuels
  • nanobiotechnology
  • advanced medical devices and equipment

SOURCE North Carolina Biotechnology Center
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