North Carolina's Biotechnology Investment Tops Billion-Dollar Mark; Battelle Study Quantifies Economic Dividends and Jobs
North Carolina has invested more than $1 billion in its expanding biotechnology enterprise during the past 10 years, and the annual economic impact exceeds $45 billion, according to data released today at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Center, and leaders from the government, education and academic institutions that made those investments spoke at a news conference Thursday about the significance of the investment in building a foundation for future growth.
"Smart, steady investment in biotechnology has created a major economic engine in North Carolina," says Tolson. "This technology will help us meet the major global needs of the future -- health care, energy and food. But it also brings tangible benefits to North Carolinians in the form of jobs, and the potential is there for many more."
The success of the biotechnology industry and the statewide partnerships that support it were verified by the findings of an economic-impact study from the Battelle Memorial Institute's Technology Partnership Practice.
Battelle's Simon Tripp, who led the study, discussed quantitative and qualitative data on the benefits derived from North Carolina's unique 24-year history in bioscience investment. The 133-page report included research data as well as survey information from biotech stakeholders and CEOs of affiliated companies around the state.
"In the 21st century, which many have termed the Biocentury, biotechnology is expected to be a key engine of economic growth in the United States," says the executive summary of the study, Evidence and Opportunity -- Biotechnology Impacts in North Carolina. "Battelle's analysis finds that North Carolina is extremely well-positioned to experience substantial further growth and development from biotechnology."
Concurrent with the Battelle report, Biotechnology Center personnel and colleagues at partner institutions and organizations established that in just the past decade, North Carolina has committed more than $1.2 billion to bioscience funding via:
- $857 million in research and facilities;
- $135 million toward workforce training;
- $115 million to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; and
- $102 million in direct company incentives.
These investments support an industry that, as measured by the Battelle study, directly contributes $28.7 billion annually to the state's economy and creates 53,200 jobs. The total impact climbs to $45.8 billion and 180,007 jobs when all spending by those companies and their employees, termed indirect and induced impacts, are counted.
The Battelle analysis lauded the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, saying it "has clearly generated a comprehensive and well thought-out series of programs and initiatives that support every link in this development chain."
Tripp says the Battelle study found that companies that receive financial assistance from the Biotechnology Center return $26.8 million a year in state taxes alone. These companies have attracted $99 in additional external funding for every dollar loaned to them by the Center.
Faculty recruitment grants from the Biotechnology Center have drawn 52 high-profile bioscience faculty to the state's universities. Those researchers have brought in $363 million in external funds from sources such as the National Institutes of Health -- a 37-to-one leverage.
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