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New Reports Highlight North Carolina As National Leader in Biotechnology Innovation and Education Amid Growing Global Competition

The following is a press release from from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 12, 2017) — A series of new reports by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) highlight North Carolina’s position as a top state in the nation for driving innovation and economic growth for the 21st Century through efforts to attract and grow the biopharmaceutical industry amid an increasingly competitive global environment.

Specifically, the reports point to two successful models: The North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech) and North Carolina’s model for education and training to help close the skills gap.

The reports identify NCBiotech, a state chartered nonprofit, as a model for other states given the organization’s ability to successfully attract and retain a wide range of biopharmaceutical companies to the state.

“North Carolina’s $86 billion life science economy is excelling at a time when the U.S. is looking to maintain its global leadership in biopharmaceutical research and development,” said Doug Edgeton, NCBiotech President and CEO. “These reports confirm that our regional assets uniquely support our statewide efforts to build, partner, invest and communicate. It has been, and will continue to be, transformative.”

The reports highlight North Carolina’s long-standing efforts in targeting biomanufacturing as a competitive advantage for the state. North Carolina colleges and universities offer advanced manufacturing facilities for contract services and workforce training, including the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center at North Carolina State University, the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise at North Carolina Central University and the NCBioNetwork Capstone Center offered by the North Carolina Community College System.

The Master’s of Microbial Biotechnology Program and the Master’s in Biomanufacturing degree programs at NC State University were also recognized as leading examples of postsecondary educational partnerships that help grow the talent pipeline.

“We’re proud that these innovative degree programs are playing such an important role in preparing our students for careers in high-demand fields like biotechnology,” said UNC System President Margaret Spellings. “These reports provide further evidence that investments in higher education spur job growth and positively impact our state’s economy.”

Additionally, the Biopharmaceutical Technology curriculum at Wake Technical Community College was highlighted in the report as an exemplary program for providing certificates and associate degrees for employment in pharmaceutical manufacturing and related industries. Numerous biopharmaceutical companies are cited as employers of program graduates, including Biogen, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck & Co., Seqirus, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer.

“We know that STEM education is vital for a strong workforce,” said Dr. Stephen C. Scott, Wake Technical Community College President. “At Wake Tech, we design curricula with local industry input to prepare our students for the workplace – and those local employers hire many of our grads! It’s an incredibly effective partnership.”


Driving Innovation and Economic Growth for the 21st Century: State Efforts to Attract and Grow the Biopharmaceutical Industry reviews state policies aimed at driving economic growth by fostering medical innovation in local communities.

Enhancing Today’s STEM Workforce to Ensure Tomorrow’s New Medicines finds that current estimates suggest U.S. manufacturers will need to hire about 3.4 million workers by 2025 and that up to 60 percent of those positions are likely to go unfilled due to the STEM-related skills gap in the U.S.

Closing the Gap: Increasing Global Competition to Attract and Grow the Biopharmaceutical Sector identifies countries that are increasingly focused on building their own biomedical R&D and manufacturing infrastructure to better compete with the U.S.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.