Durham Drug Research Firm to Add 1,000 Jobs

Posted November 29, 2006 1:18 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2006 12:09 p.m. EST

— A Durham-based pharmaceutical services firm announced Wednesday that it would add 1,000 jobs to its local work force as part of a $60 million investment over the next six years.

Quintiles Transnational Corp., which conducts clinical trials and market research for drug manufacturers, plans to invest $10.1 million in the expansion, and it will team with a private developer to build a 220,000-square-foot operation in Durham County to accommodate the growth, officials said.

"There are a handful of places in the world where drug development is truly vital, and the Research Triangle area is one of them," said Dennis Gillings, Quintiles' founder, chairman and chief executive.

The move nearly doubles the size of Quintiles' work force in the Triangle. The company has more than 15,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue of about $2 billion.

Quintiles received a $2 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund, and it is in line to receive $21.4 million in state tax breaks and other incentives if it retains all 1,000 jobs for at least 12 years.

The company also recently received a $2 million pledge from Durham County officials if the company added jobs locally.

The new jobs will have an average annual salary of $65,000, plus benefits.

Gov. Mike Easley touted the expansion at a press conference in the Old State Capitol, noting it enhances North Carolina's reputation as a hotbed for the biomedical industry.

A recent survey by consulting firm Ernst & Young placed North Carolina third nationally in terms of biotechnology jobs. It marked the third straight year the state ranked No. 3 in the survey.

"We became a national leader in this field because we have made smart investments in education, infrastructure improvements and worker training, coupled with sound fiscal policies that keep business costs down," Easley said. "These are jobs that are not going overseas. These are jobs that require a good education and a good education system."

Gillings, a former statistics professor at the University of North Carolina, said three other states lobbied him to move Quintiles headquarters -- its existing local work force as well as the expansion -- out of the Triangle.

"North Carolina made it sufficiently competitive that it make sense to stay here and expand here," Gillings said.

Three other pharmaceutical companies also have announced expansion projects in Durham County this year. Those and other expansions will add another 1,000 jobs and $171 million in economic investment in addition to Quintiles' growth.

"By having (Quintiles) expand here, we're even more attractive for other pharmaceuticals because they can help a small pharmaceutical (maker) get ready to go to market," Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said.