The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility would sit on the Umstead Research Farm area. Scientists would study deadly diseases like ebola and anthrax.
Critics have argued this type of research lab would require the highest level of security, but proponents said they have already got enough safeguards in place.
"We have a very high-end police and public safety department here," said county commissioner Ron Alligood. "We have the National Guard training facility here. We've got military personnel and law enforcement in and out every week from everywhere."
Alligood said he is not worried about securing the $450 million research lab. Butner, a state-run town, is already home to 16 state and federal institutions.
"We look at it more or less as another institution with jobs. These are high-end jobs," he said.
The lab could provide 500 new jobs and generate $6 billion into the economy over the next 20 years. Butner is one of 17 sites being considered. Officials are expected to come up with a short list in June and they are not expected to pick a site until 2008.