Pfizer is moving forward with plans to invest in a new clinical and commercial gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, NC, but the work is still in the preliminary stages, said the company. A $100-million investment in the Sanford facilities is expected to create 40 jobs, according to a press release from the North Carolina governors office.
The facility will build upon a technology first developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gene therapy focuses on highly specialized, one-time treatments that address the root cause of diseases caused by genetic mutation. The technology involves introducing genetic material into the body to deliver a correct copy of a gene to a patients cells to compensate for a defective or missing gene.
Gene therapy is an important area of focus for Pfizer. In 2016, the company acquired Bamboo Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company based in Chapel Hill focused on developing gene therapies for the potential treatment of patients with certain rare diseases related to neuromuscular conditions and those affecting the central nervous system. Pfizer also committed $4 million to support postdoctoral fellowships in North Carolina universities for training in gene therapy research, according to the press release.
A performance-based grant of $250,000 from the One North Carolina (NC) Fund will help facilitate Pfizers expansion. The One NC grant will formally be awarded to Wyeth Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
Source: Pfizer, NC Governors Office
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