North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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38 N o r t h C a r o l i N a E C o N o m i C D E v E l o p m E N t G u i D E produced only in Denmark. With more than 44 million cases of diabetes in North America, according to IDF, the U.S. is Novo's largest market. Competition for the historic investment was stiff. After considering numerous global locations, the company narrowed its search to the U.S. "They looked hard at Boston," Moore says, where a well-educated workforce and extensive roster of life- sciences firms were sweetened with a generous array of tax exemptions and other financial incentives. But North Carolina is a growing hub for life-sciences companies: Jobs in the industry grew at triple the national growth rate from 2012-14, according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade group. More than 600 biotechnology companies have operations in the state, employing 63,000 people. Novo Nordisk's site selectors looked at several locations within the state, including Holly Springs, Garner, Wilson and Research Triangle Park. "Johnston County really had to fight for this," says Moore, who is now vice president for economic development at the North Carolina Railroad Co. Site criteria included ample acreage for future growth, easy access by trucks and car traffic, industrial zoning and convenience to a four-lane highway. The property would need to have already met preliminary environmental and archaeological standards for development. And the facility, the size of seven football fields, will require power — lots of it. "There was no question we would need a transmission source to serve a facility like this," says John Nelms, economic-development manager at Duke Energy Corp. "We couldn't provide a load like that through distribution lines." That meant the Charlotte-based utility would build a substation at Novo's site, which typically calls for a seven-figure investment. That's not unheard of for major bio-manufacturers, Nelms says. "We do that for numerous customers." In addition to high quantities of electricity, Novo Nordisk would also need highly reliable power. "If we're in the middle of a fermentation cycle and the power goes out, we'd have to throw out an entire batch," explains Gary Lohr, project director and deputy site head for Novo's Clayton expansion. The consequences would include not just lost production, but also the costly burden of safely disposing of the waste. "If we lose transmission through a natural disaster, it leads to a whole range of issues," he says. Lohr says Duke Energy and subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas Co., which also will provide energy to the site, were valuable partners during the company's search. So too were utility officials from the town of Clayton: To meet the new facility's extensive wastewater demand, local officials are now working to build a regional wastewater pre-treatment plant adequate to meet not just Novo Nordisk's needs, but also those of Grifols, the nearby maker of blood-plasma products. In March 2016, just seven months after Novo's announcement, Spain-based Grifols unveiled plans for a $210 million addition to its Clayton operations, adding another 250 jobs to Johnston County's bio-manufacturing workforce. • • • hen you look at what Novo and Grifols have done in Johnston County, you see a significant biotech corridor," says Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation, which is granting Clayton $4 million for the pre-treatment plant. Rocky Mount-based Golden LEAF was created to allocate funds derived from the 1998 Master Settlement with cigarette makers, providing aid to rural areas or communities once largely dependent on tobacco. While communities like Clayton are now linked economically with Raleigh and the Research Triangle, the county as a whole was once among the state's most tobacco dependent. "Looking at where the labor force is coming from, Novo and Grifols are drawing heavily from surrounding rural counties," says Gerlach, who notes that Novo's $1.8 billion investment alone will spur an economic impact comparable to that of an automotive assembly plant. Workforce mobility was central to the search criteria Novo Nordisk explored in early 2014, Moore says. "Their team was obviously interested in skills," she recalls. "But they also wanted to look at where our life-science workers live." Evidence suggested biotech talent in the Triangle region didn't mind getting in their cars for a daily commute. Clayton is about 18 miles southeast of Raleigh, the state capital, and close to the Triangle's research universities. Lohr confirms that the area's strong workforce tipped the scales, though he says the company also liked the N o r t h C a r o l i N a ' s b i ot e C h b oo m $73 billion e c o n o m i c i m pa c t o f l i f e - s c i e n c e s c o m pa n i e s i n 2 0 1 4 63,000 l i f e - s c i e n c e s w o r k e r s i n n c 238,259 J o B s d i r e c t l y o r i n d i r e c t l y s u p p o r t e d B y B i o t e c h n o l og y $78,000 av e r a g e a n n u a l s a l a r y f o r n c l i f e - s c i e n c e s w o r k e r s i n 2 0 1 2 31% i n d u s t ry g r ow t h i n n c s i n c e 2 0 0 1 sources: edpnc , n orth c arolina Biotechnology c enter "W

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