California firm picks RTP to develop prenatal tests

Posted October 12, 2011

— {a href="external_link-1"}}Sequenom{{/a}} (Nasdaq: SQNM), a California-based prenatal diagnostic testing company, plans to open an operation in Research Triangle Park and hire up to 242 workers over the next four years.

The firm will receive up to $2.3 million in state tax incentives if it meets job hiring commitments.

Gov. Beverly Perdue announced the firm’s decision at the NCBIO conference Wednesday morning in RTP. NCBIO is a trade group representing the state’s life science industry, which is the third largest in the country and employs some 50,000 people.

"This is a private company doing molecular innovation in North Carolina. That says a whole lot about who we are and where other companies should invest," Perdue said.

Paul Maier, who will head Sequenom's RTP operation, said the firm picked North Carolina over Texas for the facility because of access to worker training programs at area universities, an availability of lab space and access to Raleigh-Durham International Airport and other logistics services.

"Finding trained lab technicians (who) can do these very complex tests, many of the other states we looked at just didn't have that workforce available," Maier said. "We have that workforce available here in North Carolina."

Sequenom jobs announcement Trained workers attract biotech firm to RTP

The Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine will develop a range of molecular diagnostic tests, with a focus on prenatal diseases and conditions. These genetic tests provide better patient management alternatives for obstetricians, geneticists and maternal fetal medicine specialists.

The MaterniT21 test, which is expected to launch in the coming months, is meant to advance prenatal screening for trisomy 21, the most common cause of Down syndrome.

Sequenom will invest $18 million in a building off Kit Creek Road, which it plans to lease. Final terms of that agreement are still being negotiated, he added.

Salaries for the RTP workers will average $53,721 a year, plus benefits.

Founded in 1994 and based in San Diego, Sequenom employs more than 200 people. The company has a market cap of around $500 million based on its stock price.

Wall Street analysts have a target range of between $3 and $11 for the stock. Four consider it a “strong buy,” three rate it as a “buy,” three as a “hold” and one as a “sell,”” according to Thomson First Call.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 18, 2011

    @storcheim, would you rather pay a tiny amount for birth control for poor & uneducated people (and anything thing else that helps prevention)...or do you want to continue to pay a LOT of money to support their children for 18+ years?...and then THEIR children. It's that simple.

  • mfarmer1 Oct 12, 2011

    Why Is "{a href="external_link-1"}}Sequenom{{/a}}" part of the story?

  • jimthorne73 Oct 12, 2011

    If they find out a baby has Down syndrome how do they treat it?

  • Alex25 Oct 12, 2011

    STATE: STOP using my money for nonsense "incentives".........jeeeeeeeez

  • storchheim Oct 12, 2011

    And as I said once before and you ignored, NO ONE is denying health CARE to anyone.

    You just don't want to pay for it yourself. The fact that no one else wants to pay for your sexual activity and its consequence does not translate to denying you health care.

  • storchheim Oct 12, 2011

    hereandnow, why do you think anyone but you should pay for your birth control or your pregnancy or your kids?

  • jlp Oct 12, 2011

    Wow how could this be? The Civitas Institute, John Locke Foundation, and the republicans in the legislature told me that NC has such crushing regulations and job killing high taxes. I can't believe companies are still coming here. Shh don't tell them, they won't have any fuel left for the fire.

  • Shamrock Oct 12, 2011

    "You are assuming that the future employees are all presently unemployed. That usually is not the case for people with these skills."

    That is why I said "May even"...and don't se so sure. There are lots of people in the science arena that have losts their jobs due to layoffs. Eitherway, they will leave openings in current jobs for others to fill that may be unemployed.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 12, 2011

    @farm, I totally agree. Just think if birthcontrol was free, 100% effective for men and women, and had zero side effects.

    Since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, wouldn't it make great sense for the government to provide this for anyone who wants it? 50 cents now could save the gov't hundreds of thousands of dollars later.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 12, 2011

    @storheim, half of all pregnancies are not planned. Even smart people (e.g. John Edwards) smack into this reality. Did you know that?

    And if you're really so callous & uncaring that you'd deny healthcare to people in need (and toss out that whole do-unto-others thing), then there's no use in me trying to have a civil conversation with you.