Biologics Manufacturing Plant To Be Built In North Carolina

Kyowa Kirin will invest up to $530M and create more than 100 jobs at its new biologics manufacturing plant in Sanford, NC.

Kyowa Kirin, Inc. plans to invest up to $530 million to build a new, state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing plant in Sanford, North Carolina. The company is an affiliate of Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd., a global specialty pharmaceutical company based in Japan. The new facility will accelerate the company’s development and production of biologic therapies for patients with rare and serious diseases. The plant will create more than 100 new local jobs at an average salary of $91,496. It will also contribute to the Sanford area’s economic growth and development.

“I am very excited that Kyowa Kirin is constructing a new manufacturing plant for biologics drug substance in the United States,” said Toshiyuki Kurata, Chief Supply Chain Officer, and Global Manufacturing Head at Kyowa Kirin. “The new facility will be scalable with our Takasaki Plant in Japan to help ease technology transfer between the two plants and add production capacity. We believe this will help accelerate drug development and production.”

Biologics Manufacturing Plant
Kyowa Kirin NC Manufacturing Facility: Amphitheater West (Photo: Kyowa Kirin)

A key driver of the new manufacturing facility is the growing global imperative to treat increasingly pressing diseases. These diseases individually are rare, but collectively affect an estimated 263 to 446 million people worldwide.

The facility will manufacture innovative biologic therapies, including next-generation antibodies, for the company’s clinical trials and future commercial use. Additionally, they will create more resilient and efficient supply lines that more readily withstand shifting global forces.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin in the second half of 2024 and become fully operational in 2027. Kyowa Kirin’s investment of up to $530 million will be supported by performance-based state and local incentives. The incentives are upwards of $10 million over 12 years. The state’s economy will grow by approximately $1.05 billion over the course of grant, the North Carolina Department of Commerce reports.

“Our North American presence continues to grow through strategic investments that are adding new capabilities, new therapeutic expertise, and new talent to our global organization, all in service of meeting patients’ needs,” said Steve Schaefer, Kyowa Kirin North American President. “Among the many qualities that drew us to North Carolina are our shared values, such as harmony and teamwork, which are deeply engrained in our culture at Kyowa Kirin, evident in our longstanding corporate partnerships, and fundamental to high-quality pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

The Sanford facility will round out and enhance Kyowa Kirin’s global manufacturing network. This network includes sites in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, and Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan. By building its new site in North Carolina, Kyowa Kirin will benefit from a thriving network of biomanufacturing resources. Additionally, they will be enhanced by a rich pool of talent within the greater Research Triangle Park region. This robust region is home to renowned universities and community colleges that provide specialized curricula and training. The facility will leverage the expertise of these institutions, building upon the existing manufacturing methods and technologies in Takasaki.

“We’re excited to collaborate with area colleges, universities, businesses, and civic leaders to ensure that our plans align with Sanford’s vision for growth, anchored in a rejuvenated manufacturing economy that offers diverse job opportunities and returns value to the community,” said Paul Testa, Executive Vice President, Regional Head North America/EMEA Manufacturing, Kyowa Kirin North America.

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