Jaguar Gene Therapy, LLC, an Illinois-based gene therapy company, will create 200 new jobs and invest more than $125 million to locate a GMP facility in Durham County.
“North Carolina’s diverse life sciences presence continues to attract innovative biopharmaceutical companies,” said Governor Cooper. “Jaguar’s expansion into biomanufacturing in Research Triangle Park, together with its process sciences laboratory in Cary, reinforces North Carolina’s reputation as a premier location for these companies.”
Jaguar Gene Therapy is focused on accelerating breakthroughs in gene therapy for larger patient populations suffering from severe genetic diseases and is led by experts in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of novel gene therapy treatments. Once fully converted to Jaguar’s gene therapy manufacturing specifications, the GMP facility in Research Triangle Park will support future clinical and commercial production of the company’s initial programs, including galactosemia; a specific genetic cause of autism; and Type 1 diabetes. The 174,000-square-foot facility is located approximately 20 miles from Jaguar’s existing Process Sciences Laboratory in Cary, expanding the company’s North Carolina presence.
“Our new GMP facility represents a major step forward for Jaguar in our mission to accelerate gene therapy breakthroughs in patient populations with large unmet needs,” said Andrew Knudten, M.S., MBA, Chief Operating Officer of Jaguar Gene Therapy. “North Carolina is known for its innovation in biotechnology and its highly talented workforce, both of which are crucial as we strive to raise the bar for manufacturing safe and effective gene therapies.”
“With a strong roster of globally recognized biomanufacturers and gene and cell therapy leaders, North Carolina is a top choice for growing biotech companies,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “North Carolina has the world-renowned researchers, Tier 1 universities, and strategic partnerships to maintain our thriving life sciences ecosystem. With our First in Talent plan, workforce training will continue to develop the diverse and highly-skilled talent for the life-changing work that companies like Jaguar will create both now and in the future.”
Although wages will vary for the new positions, the average annual salaries will be greater than Durham County’s overall average annual wage of $75,892. The new positions are anticipated to bring $18.5 million of annual payroll growth to the region.
This expansion by Jaguar Gene Therapy will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of the grant, economists in the Department of Commerce estimate the project will grow the state’s economy by more than $279 million. The JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2,355,000 spread over 12 years. Payments for all JDIGs only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
Because Jaguar Gene Therapy is expanding in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $785,000 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.
“Jaguar Gene Therapy’s investment is a great win for the entire state,” said N.C. Senator Natalie S. Murdock. “North Carolina is a hub of homegrown and international companies that are leading gene-based technologies and therapies to help save lives around the world.”
“These high-paying jobs are a welcomed addition to the Research Triangle region,” said N.C. Representative Zack Hawkins. “Growing companies appreciate the many advantages of doing business in our state, especially the access to talent and breakthrough research that will support their long-term success. I look forward to doing all I can to connect them to our diverse talent pool and successfully integrating them into the Durham community.”
In addition to the N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham County, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Duke Energy.