$42m slated for biomanufacturing

$42m slated for biomanufacturing

North Carolina’s biomanufacturing industry will get a $42 million boost this year, and possibly another $108 million more over the next six years, from Golden LEAF Inc., the foundation that invests money from the tobacco settlement for the long-term economic advancement of North Carolina, officials announced Aug. 14.

“Today’s announcement provides the jumpstart, the one that we need to make North Carolina the biomanufacturing capital of the world,” said Gov. Mike Easley.

“It’s all about jobs,” added Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight. “We will lead this country in this new environment of new jobs.”

The biomanufacturing funding is the centerpiece of an $85.4 million economic stimulus package from Golden LEAF to strengthen North Carolina’; economy and the state’s competitiveness in the biosciences.

“The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is delighted that Golden LEAF has recognized the critical importance of biotechnology to the state’s continued economic development,” said Leslie M. Alexandre, Dr.P.H., the Center’s president and chief executive officer. “The foundation’s commitment to $42 million in venture capital investments will help build on the state’s existing strengths in biomanufacturing and biotechnology development.”

The $42 million for biomanufacturing will be invested in venture capital funds that will provide funding for bioscience companies developing or manufacturing their products in North Carolina. If those investments are successful, Golden LEAF anticipates making additional investments of $108 million over the next six years, bringing its total investments in the bioscience sector to $150 million.

“For a long time, members of the board of directors have thought that the life sciences can offer tremendous economic potential for North Carolina,” said Valeria Lee, president of Golden LEAF. “After considerable research and discussion, they have decided to make investing in the bioscience industry a major foundation initiative.”

The $85.4 million package also includes $10 million for job training, $10 million for investment in a biodiesel plant, $3.4 million for the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, $5 million to help local governments and economic developers finance the certification of industrial sites, and $15 million in annual grants to other projects in the areas of agriculture, economic development and workforce preparedness.

For more information about the stimulus package, visit www.goldenleaf.org.

COPYRIGHT 2002 North Carolina Biotechnology Center

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning