Durham, N.C. — Quintiles Transnational Corp., the world’s largest provider of drug development services to pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, formally opened its new headquarters on Thursday.
More than 700 workers have been in Quintiles Plaza for several weeks, but Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis Gillings and other dignitaries officially dedicated the 10-story building off Interstate 40 at Page Road on Thursday afternoon.
"We really have come a long way, baby," said Gillings, who co-founded Quintiles 27 years ago in a trailer on the campus of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he worked as a professor.
"This is not simply a grand opening," he said. "It is a celebration of the grand impact we've had on people's lives."
Executive assistant Donna Hood said she appreciates that Gillings and other Quintiles executives have planned well enough for the company to thrive in the down economy.
"Our management has taken a lot of steps to assure that we don't have layoffs and a lot of other dramatic action that so many others in (nearby Research Triangle Park) are facing," Hood said. "This is where the company started, and we hope this is where the global headquarters will stay."
Gov. Beverly Perdue and Durham Mayor Bill Bell attended the dedication and praised Quintiles for its growth strategy and its "green" headquarters.
The new building is constructed of environmentally friendly materials and uses plenty of natural light indoors to cut electricity use.
"This is a home-grown North Carolina company – a little idea that sought to become a big reality and succeeded," Perdue said.
Quintiles has been "fortunate" to continue growing during the recession, Gillings said, and he credited the company's global presence and contracts with foreign drug companies for boosting its Triangle payroll.
"In this case, outsourcing benefits our industry, (and) senior jobs go here in North Carolina," he said.
Privately held Quintiles agreed to keep its headquarters in North Carolina after the state and local governments agreed in November 2006 to provide about $23 million in tax breaks and other incentives.
In exchange for the incentives, the company promised to create 1,000 new jobs by 2012. More than 400 of those jobs are already in place, company officials said, putting the firm ahead of its six-year timetable.
The new jobs in clinical research, data management, information technology and other skilled positions have a minimum salary of $58,800, officials said.
Quintiles has more than 23,000 employees worldwide, including 1,700 in the Triangle.