Kyowa Kirin, a Japan-based Global Specialty Pharmaceutical company, has selected Lee County as the location for its new pharmaceutical manufacturing complex, creating 102 new jobs. The company will invest $200 million in the new complex in Sanford which will serve as a Center of Excellence to support the manufacturing of biologic products for targeted clinical and commercial use, expand the company’s global footprint, create more resilient and efficient supply lines, and support the training and development of Kyowa Kirin’s global manufacturing workforce.

Kyowa Kirin uses cutting-edge research and expertise in antibody engineering to advance new discoveries to help patients and families living with serious and rare diseases, for which there are currently no adequate treatments, in the nephrology, immunology and allergy, oncology and the central nervous system. The company has been in operation for more than 70 years in the Japan, Asia Pacific, North America and other international regions including Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The new facility will be located at Helix Innovation Park at the Brickyard in the northern part of Lee County.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) worked with state and local entities, including the North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech), to support the project with site selection and connectivity to the life sciences industry and workforce development resources in the state.

“Welcoming a new company like Kyowa Kirin to our state is the product of collaboration with partners such as NCBiotech. Our colleagues at NCBiotech provide a level of expertise that highlights North Carolina’s long-term commitment and leadership in the life sciences industry,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of the EDPNC. “Our state’s life sciences industry launched in the 1950s and we have leveraged this foundation to become a premier biomanufacturing location. We look forward to Kyowa Kirin’s contribution to the region and Lee County’s success.”

Between 2018 and 2022, Japanese companies have announced more than $6.6 billion in investment in North Carolina and more than 5,166 new jobs. Currently, more than 30,500 North Carolinians work for Japanese companies such as FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, Astellas Gene Therapies, Morinaga, and Sumitomo Pharma. In 2021, Toyota announced it will build its first North American battery manufacturing plant in Liberty, North Carolina, investing $1.29 billion and creating 1,750 jobs. Since then, Toyota has announced three additional expansions bringing the project’s total capital investment to $13.9 billion and 5,000 new jobs.

Although wages will vary depending on the position, the average salary for Kyowa Kirin’s new positions will be $91,496, which is more than Lee County’s average wage of $51,683.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina would like to recognize the North Carolina Department of Commerce as well as other key partners involved in this project, including the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, N.C. Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Carolina Core, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Lee County, Sanford Area Growth Alliance, and City of Sanford.