With avian flu a looming threat, there is a pressing need for rapid vaccine production. To meet this need, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis set out to build a new vaccine manufacturing plant, one that would employ its novel cell culture technology instead of traditional egg-derived manufacturing techniques.
Several states, including Georgia and Maryland, had sites that were vying to be the first U.S. location that would use the new technology. But, ultimately, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics chose to locate in Holly Springs, North Carolina. The project involves a minimum investment of $267.5 million over the next five years. It is expected to create 350 new jobs in Wake County. On average, each new job will pay $49,900, plus benefits, which is more than the Wake County average of $34,270, not including benefits.
Both state and local institutions contributed to the incentives package that attracted Novartis. The state provided a One North Carolina Fund Grant of $3 million as well as a Job Development Investment Grant of up to $6 million. Novartis will also qualify for up to $7.65 million in tax credits.
Wake County provided a grant of $3.1 million, and the town of Holly Springs provided $17.67 million in land and site improvements. Community College training was valued at $2.48 million.
“Novartis’ strategic investment to build a next-generation influenza vaccines manufacturing facility in North Carolina demonstrates our continued commitment to vaccines innovation, said Joerg Reinhardt, CEO, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. With its growing capabilities in biomanufacturing, North Carolina provides a strong platform for the continued growth of the Novartis’ vaccines business.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce estimates the project will generate a cumulative gross product value of about $1.5 billion. It also estimates a positive, cumulative net state revenue impact of almost $41.3 million.