CARsgen Therapeutics Corporation will create approximately 200 jobs in North Carolina with its $157 million investment in Durham. The biotechnology company’s selection of the Research Triangle area will establish its first biomanufacturing site in North America. CARsgen Therapeutics currently has its U.S. clinical development operations in Houston, TX.
CARsgen Therapeutics is a clinical stage biotechnology company specializing in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies, a type of therapy that engages people’s immune systems in a new way. The therapeutic approach can yield medicines for various human cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors. The company’s project in North Carolina will establish a 37,000-square-foot clinical/early-stage commercial manufacturing facility and then a 100,000-square-foot cGMP commercial manufacturing facility in Durham that will eventually produce FDA-approved cell therapies.
CARsgen Therapeutics’ project will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.04 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 200 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1.6 million spread over 12 years. Over the 12 years, those state tax revenues will exceed $31.1 million.
“We are very excited to receive the JDIG grant approval from the State of North Carolina,” said Dr. Zonghai Li, CEO, CSO and Chairman of CARsgen Therapeutics. “CARsgen will continuously develop and embed innovations to advance the revolutionary CAR-T cell therapy for unmet clinical needs. The company has launched clinical studies of our leading CT053 and CT041 CAR-T cell therapies in the United States. The new facilities will expand our global cGMP manufacturing capacity to produce the innovative CAR-T cell products for the U.S. patients.”
“It’s exciting to see a company at the cutting-edge of science join our growing biotech industry cluster,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “From companies exploring gene therapies to the innovative work CARsgen is conducting with immune-oncology, there’s no question that North Carolina will continue to play an important role in the future of this industry and the many lives of those impacted by the life sciences sector.”
Although wages will vary by job position, the aggregate average salary of the new positions will reach $76,061, bringing a payroll impact of $15.2 million to the region each and every year. The current average wage in Durham County is $75,892.
The North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Duke Energy, the City of Durham, Durham County and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce worked on this project along with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C.
Boat Maker Brings Saltwater Brands To New Bern
Meanwhile in Craven County, White River Marine Group, LLC, a leading manufacturer of recreational boats, will open a manufacturing facility with a target of 500 jobs. The company will make a significant investment in New Bern, creating its first coastal manufacturing site and adding Hatteras to its portfolio of well-known brands.
“Boat and marine manufacturing requires specialized and experienced workers, and White River Marine knows our state can deliver the people they need to successfully expand their business in New Bern,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
White River Marine Group (WRMG), an affiliate of Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops, is the world’s largest manufacturer of boats. Founded by noted angler and conservationist Johnny Morris, WRMG builds legendary performance boat brands like TRACKER, the No. 1 fishing boat in America for the past 45 years and ASCEND, the world’s best-selling kayaks. Other leading brands include MAKO, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, and Tahoe.
The expansion will shift the focus of the company’s saltwater manufacturing from the Midwest to the sea, closer to the saltwater market and a thriving community of craftsmen and women. The company will continue to support and grow Hatteras, as well as relocate production of iconic saltwater boat brands MAKO and Ranger Saltwater to New Bern, which is a premier location for saltwater fishing.
Plans call for a major investment to modernize the Hatteras facility and establish a state-of-the-art coastal manufacturing center generating hundreds of new jobs. Consistent with Bass Pro’s reputation for turning shopping for outdoor gear into an experiential adventure, the plant will offer customers demo rides on the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities to tour the factory. It will also serve as an R&D center for sea-trialing and product development across all three brands.
Morris is a big fan of the area and has spent many days fishing in the Outer Banks for big tuna and marlin. The local sportfishing culture is a major inspiration for the company to relocate its saltwater manufacturing.
“With Hatteras’ rich heritage of craftsmanship and access to some of the world’s best offshore angling, our aim is to help solidify New Bern as the world’s capital for saltwater gamefish and boat building,” said Morris. “We love the passion for fishing and commitment to craftsmanship found in New Bern. We’re very grateful to Governor Cooper and his team, as well as local officials and leaders including Craven County Manager Jack Veit and Craven County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Jason Jones for their genuine welcoming spirit and their leadership in supporting our vision to invest in this incredible angling community.”
“The marine trades are an important part of North Carolina’s heritage,” said Secretary Baker Sanders. “It’s great to see a company with the leadership and reputation of White River Marine choose our state for this important expansion of their company.”
Like the CARsgen Therapeutics project, White River Marine Group’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a JDIG. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.17 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $5,441,400, spread over 12 years.
The North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, North Carolina’s Southeast, and the Craven County Economic Development Department worked with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project.
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