After evaluating HB2, drug maker going ahead with plans for $20M Durham County facility
Posted May 17
RALEIGH, N.C. — A drug-maker that spent six weeks deciding whether to scrap plans for a new North Carolina factory after the state passed a law limiting some LBGT protections says it's going ahead.
New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it will build a $20 million manufacturing and research facility in Durham County. The 50 new jobs paying an average of nearly $76,000 a year were announced just before state officials passed House Bill 2 in March. Braeburn said the law caused it to re-evaluate.
The bill created a state anti-discrimination law that excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The law also requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates.
"Diversity and nondiscrimination are core to the identity of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, and we consider our own organization’s diverse make-up to be a competitive advantage," President and Chief Executive Behshad Sheldon said in a statement. "We proudly stand with the growing list of national and local businesses who have spoken out against the injustice of HB2 and in favor of LGBT rights. We seriously considered moving our manufacturing facility to another state to send a clear message about the depth of our commitment. Ultimately, however, we concluded that abandoning Braeburn’s job creation plans in Durham County would unfairly penalize a community that shares Braeburn’s commitment to equality."
The Durham County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce have issued statements calling for the law to be repealed.
The company said it expects legal challenges will overturn the law.
Sheldon said Braeburn officials met with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who urged the company to expand in the state to fight for change. Cooper, a Democrat, is running for governor against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and McCrory's campaign seized on word of that meeting to suggest that Braeburn's threat of canceling its expansion was merely political posturing.
"Whether they were really ever serious about pulling their investment or not, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals made the right decision not to follow through on their threats while this national issue works its way through the courts," McCrory campaign manager Russell Peck said in a statement. "Roy Cooper and his allies continue to attack our state's economy and reputation for their own political gain."
Cooper's campaign responded by saying he "is doing everything he can to protect our economy against Pat McCrory’s job-killing law."
"Governor McCrory’s recruitment pitch is simply that the courts will soon undo the damage he’s done. This isn't that complicated – the sooner Governor McCrory puts politics aside and works to repeal HB 2, the better off our economy will be," Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement.