Photo Credit: WRAL TechWire and Biogen

Biogen to Invest $200M to Expand RTP Facility to Produce Gene Therapies

Published March 5, 2021

North Carolina’s gene and cell therapy magnet has attracted an investment from one of the state’s original biomanufacturers Biogen.

The top-25 global pharmaceutical company, based in Cambridge, Mass., announced a $200 million investment to build a 175,000-square-foot facility to support clinical production for its gene therapy pipeline. The company plans to add 90 more workers to its workforce of approximately 1,900 people at its two facilities in the Research Triangle Park.

“This additional investment underscores our commitment to RTP and our mission to deliver a reliable supply of high-quality medicines to the patients we serve,” said Nicole Murphy, senior vice president, global manufacturing and technical operations at Biogen.

“We are poised with a diverse workforce that is passionate about making a difference in the lives of patients and we look forward to welcoming new colleagues from the community to join us in that mission.”

Artist's rendering of Biogen's new gene therapy facility in RTP.
Artist’s rendering of Biogen’s new gene therapy facility in RTP.
— Biogen illustration

Biogen’s facilities are among more than 90 biopharma manufacturing sites in North Carolina. More than 27,000 people work at those sites, with more growth coming. Life sciences companies announced more than $2.3 billion in investment last year for facilities to manufacture biopharma products, promising 2,800 new jobs. Those announcements came from emerging gene- and cell-therapy companies as well as well-known multinational pharma players. 

Laura Rowley, Ph.D., director of life science economic development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, said this announcement is notable for incorporating both.

“Biogen is a company that we know well, dating back to the 1990s when it chose North Carolina as the location to produce treatments for multiple sclerosis,” Rowley said. “Today’s announcement marks its continued success and evolution as a company, and we’re excited for our community to be entrusted with this next step.”

Biogen has established a global reputation as a pioneer in neuroscience. Its products and pipeline cover neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as conditions related to those diseases or treated by similar therapies. Its gene therapy pipeline targets multiple therapeutic areas. 

In a news release, Biogen stated that it selected RTP for this new facility given the region’s diverse pool of talent and the company’s 26-year track record of attracting highly qualified and passionate employees in North Carolina. Biogen said its priority is to continue to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the communities where it operates and the patients it serves. The new facility will be designed in compliance with the most advanced sustainability standards regarding energy use, waste management and water consumption.

Partners in the recruitment project included the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. Talent, North Carolina’s strength in recruiting biopharma manufacturing, was represented by the NC Community Colleges BioNetwork, North Carolina Central University’s Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Training Enterprise, and North Carolina State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center. While the project did not leverage financial incentives, the array of partners in North Carolina’s ecosystem strengthened North Carolina’s pitch for the project.