Governor Roy Cooper joined officials from AveXis, a gene therapy manufacturer, for a ribbon cutting and tour of their new facility today. The 400 jobs that will be created with state support at the site were announced in 2018 and 2019. Production of gene therapy medicines will begin in the spring.
The governor and company officials were joined on stage by a family whose toddler daughter benefitted from Zolgensma, the company's gene therapy treatment for children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The company anticipates manufacturing other rare disease therapies in addition to Zolgensma in North Carolina in the future. AveXis President Dave Lennon and site leader Rob May led the tour.
"Life changing medicines for children with rare diseases are being made right here in North Carolina by AveXis employees and we're grateful for the lives this company saves and the good jobs it brings,"
said Governor Roy Cooper.
AveXis first announced its facility plans in May 2018
, noting that 200 jobs were coming to Durham; 200 additional jobs were announced
in February 2019. Both projects received a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). Over the 12-year terms of these grants, the project is estimated to grow the state's economy by more than $1.3 billion.
Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the two JDIG agreements authorize the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3.6 million, paid over 12 years if it meets hiring and investment targets. In addition, the company's JDIGs call for moving as much as $1.2 million into the Utility Account, a state fund that helps rural locations make necessary investments to in turn attract more businesses to their communities.
North Carolina has long played a strong role in the life science industry and has staked a leadership role in the industry's emerging gene therapy sector. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center was established in 1984, the first of its kind in the nation. Today, more than 66,000 people in North Carolina work directly in this industry, and overall the sector supports 240,000 jobs in our state.
- Contact: Ford Porter