Recent Facility and Job Expansions in the Biopharma Industry
There has been a spate of recent news regarding the expansion of facilities and the expected job growth for the biopharma and life sciences industry. Here’s a look at some of those stories.
Adnan Mjalli Invests in North Carolina Triad R&D Campus
Biotech entrepreneur Adnan Mjalli plans to invest in a High Point, NC research park called The Oasis Center. The proposed projects would create 1,600 jobs and the construction of 1.3 million square feet of new buildings and offices. The site is part of an 80.5-acre plot of land. The Oasis Center would include research labs, office buildings, apartments and townhomes for research staff and clients.
Mjalli is the chief executive officer of High Point Clinical Trials Center, founder and former CEO and president of TransTech Pharma, High Point Pharmaceuticals, and vTV Therapeutics. In late 2018, reportedly his luxury Mercedes was blown up in the northern West Bank town of Tubas in Palestine. Mjalli was not in the car. Some authorities believe it was a warning to Mjalli to not run for office to replace Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Among other things, Mjalli has been an adviser to the Trump administration on the Palestinian economy and ran a back-channel between the White House and Abbas’s Muqata’a headquarters in Ramallah.
LabCorp and Envigo to Swap Assets … and Staff
Clinical laboratory company Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) recently acquired research company Envigo for $485 million. As part of the two companies’ asset swap, hundreds of employees will also be swapping companies. LabCorp will add about 1,400 staffers to its Covance Drug Development subsidiary as part of the deal. And an unspecified number of Covance employees will shift to Envigo, which is based in New Jersey and the UK. The Covance employees involved in the move are based in the U.S.
Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Launches Seed Fund to Grow Life Sciences Innovation
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced a new Seed Fund “to catalyze life sciences development and innovations in under-served regions.” Individual investments by the fund will be up to $250,000 in convertible notes and up to $1 million in capital investment. It’s available to life sciences companies in Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, Amherst, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The MLSC indicates that the supported sectors include diagnostics, digital health/bioinformatics, medical devices, medtech, and therapeutics. Early-stage life sciences companies that haven’t raised their first priced financing round are “strongly encouraged to apply.”
After String of Acquisitions, Crown Laboratories Expands Facilities
Johnson City, Tenn.-based Crown Laboratories has made eight acquisitions since December 2017. Now, after all that buying, the company plans to expand its Johnson City facilities from about 200,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet. And they asked the city for help in doing so. The city last month approved a $450,000 job retention and growth grant, although it still needs to be approved by commissioners and the Industrial Development Board. The company plans to spend about $27 million in the expansion, which would create 216 new jobs over five years. Crown is a skin-care company best known for its Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen.
Iovance Bio Plans New Manufacturing Plant for Cell Therapies
San Carlos, Calif.-based Iovance Biotherapeutics plans to lease a 136,000-square-foot commercial-scale production facility in Philadelphia for commercial and clinical manufacturing of autologous TIL products, including its drug candidate lifileucel. The company indicates it plans to invest about $75 million over three years in equipment and construction of the manufacturing facility, which will be completed in about two years.
CRO Parexel to Expand in Durham, NC
Contract research organization (CRO) PAREXEL International, headquartered near Boston, is investing $1.7 million and adding 264 staffers to its Durham, NC operations. It plans to make the site a shared headquarters. The state provided about $4.2 million in incentives and Durham County awarded the company about $120,500. Parexel claims its average wages for the newly created jobs will be $110,511, compared to the county’s average of $68,731.