Regional Economic Development Alliance Awarded Grant to Advance Life Science Sector

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The NCEast Alliance (NCEA) was notified that it will receive $100,000 to advance the development of the life science sector by Representative Greg Murphy, MD when the NC Legislature passed the biennial budget last week.

The Life Science sector is heavily concentrated in eastern North Carolina, the core, made up of biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing companies, employs over 8,000 workers. Several thousand more are employed in the supply chain that supports these companies and that supply chain reaches deep into this coastal region. The healthcare sector, including hospitals, medical practices, mental health providers and others, are also a significant component of the regional economy, employing over 20,000 well-educated workers. There is a natural synergy between the life science development and manufacturing element of the life science sector and the healthcare industry that are consumers of the products developed and manufactured by the biopharmaceutical and medical device community. 

The NCEast Alliance (NCEA) was notified that it will receive $100,000 to advance the development of the life science sector by Representative Greg Murphy, MD when the NC Legislature passed the biennial budget last week.  Rep. Murphy championed this effort during budget deliberations. “The life science community is very important to this state and to my district, in particular. I am impressed with the efforts of the Alliance and the level of investment they have obtained from the private sector, including pharmaceutical and health care organizations,” stated Rep. Greg Murphy. “Over the past couple years, this sector has had several major expansion announcements that have set the stage for even greater employment growth,” Murphy continued. The funding will be used to facilitate NCEA’s objective of bringing members of these respective communities together to discuss their activities, plans for the future, and needs to be addressed. The Alliance will also explore the possibility of encouraging the area healthcare industry to prioritize the purchase of products produced in North Carolina and the region. 

These funds will also be used to further the efforts of the NCEA in promoting life science sector development in eastern North Carolina While the key biopharma manufacturers are concentrated in five areas (Clayton, Greenville, Rocky Mount, Wilson and Zebulon), they employ people from roughly 50 counties and their supply chain stretches north to Ahoskie and Elizabeth City and as far east and south as Washington, Morehead City and Beulaville. The Alliance, in partnership with the NC Biotechnology Center, local economic developers, educational institutions, workforce development boards and others, will analyze gaps in the supply chain as well as workforce development needs of the life science sector, then address those in a collaborative fashion. 

The economic development consortium will also be proactive in developing and executing marketing plans to recruit companies that would fill supply chain gaps identified in coordination with key producers (biopharmaceutical and medical device companies) as well as healthcare providers.  The group will also explore the possibility of filling gaps by working with area entrepreneurs and existing regional companies to encourage their expansion into areas that would meet the needs of existing manufacturing companies and healthcare organizations. The effort also will involve precision marketing efforts associated with the recruitment of both life science companies and suppliers. NCEA staff and partners recently attended Interphex (a large conference and trade show) in New York City to meet with various suppliers of plastic tubing, production machinery, filtration media and many other products used by the biopharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

These efforts not only position the NCEA to better respond to the needs of our existing companies, it will also present opportunities to increase investment and job creation. John D. Chaffee, NCEast Alliance CEO, stated, “One critical component is to strengthen the educational response to fill workforce needs of existing employers.  For example, one hospital in the region has over 200 job openings that could be filled by developing a more robust supply of locally educated and trained talent.”


NCEast is a non-traditional regional economic development organization serving 28 counties with approximately 1.3 million residents in several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas in eastern North Carolina.  The region extends from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast and from Jacksonville/Onslow County to the Virginia state line. The Alliance provides community capacity building, marketing/lead generation, and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations.

For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at one of the following:

www.nceast.org
www.ncworkready.org
www.stemeast.org