The US state of North Carolina has launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging investment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with sizeable grants available to companies prepared to invest $100 million or more in the region and provide at least 100 jobs.
The first beneficiary of the scheme is pharma major Merck & Co , which will be allocated a grant of $24 million to buy a site on which to build a new vaccines manufacturing facility, as well as tax relief on the purchase of construction materials. The plant will manufacture Merck's vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella and should be on-line in 2008. It will employ around 200 workers, according to Merck.
The scheme is administrated by the newly set up Life Sciences Revenue Bond Authority, which has been given the task of exploring how revenue bonds can be used to spark recruitment and construction of life sciences manufacturing facilities.
The Authority believes that its measure could lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs in the state over the next five years, on the back of 15-20 new manufacturing plants.