Photo Credit: Beam Therapeutics

Governor Cooper Announces Genetic Medicine Company Will Create 201 Jobs in Durham County

Published August 12, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that Beam Therapeutics (Nasdaq; BEAM), a biotechnology company developing precision medicines through DNA base editing, plans to build a manufacturing facility in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, creating 201 jobs. Over a period of 5 years, the company expects to invest $83 million in the facility, which will support clinical and commercial manufacturing for the company’s novel base editing programs.

“North Carolina is a leader in biotechnology, from the research in our labs to the state’s biomanufacturers,” said Governor Cooper. “Companies like Beam Therapeutics’ work in developing precision medicines will help keep North Carolina on the cutting edge of this industry.”

Beam Therapeutics, with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, develops precision genetic medicines through base editing. The foundational level of genetic information is a single base letter in DNA, and an error to a single letter, known as a point mutation, can cause disease. Base editors have the ability to rewrite just a single letter, and thereby intervene at the most foundational level. Beam’s proprietary base editors create precise, predictable and efficient single base changes, at targeted genomic sequences, without making double-stranded breaks in the DNA. This enables a wide range of potential therapeutic editing strategies that Beam is using to advance a diversified portfolio of base editing programs.

“We believe investment in strategic manufacturing capabilities is an important component of fully realizing the power of our base editing technology and achieving our vision to provide life-long cures to patients suffering from serious diseases”, said John Evans, CEO of Beam Therapeutics. “Research Triangle Park is a thriving biopharmaceutical hub, providing significant access to the broad range of talent we will need to make this vision a reality.”

Although wages will vary depending on position, the average salary for the new positions will be $102,654. The average wage in Durham County is $71,756. The state and local area will see a yearly economic impact of more than $20.6 million from this company’s new payroll.

“North Carolina has been a world leader in biotechnology for many years, but we’re not resting on our past accomplishments,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Beam Therapeutics joins a host of gene therapy companies that are keeping North Carolina at the forefront of this new frontier of medicine.”

Beam Therapeutics’ project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of 12 years, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.36 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3,237,750, spread over 12 years. Payments for all JDIGs only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

Because Beam Therapeutics chose a site in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $1,079,250 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state. More information on the state’s economic tier designations is available here.

In addition to the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., other key partners on this project were the the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham County, and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.