A budding CDMO in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is ready to grow significantly.
Over the next five years, Raybow Pharmaceutical will invest $15.8 million and add 74 jobs at its North American headquarters in Brevard. Its workforce there will quadruple, and production capacity will increase tenfold as the parent company looks to grow its presence in the U.S.
It’s a long way from the Brevard site's humble beginnings in 1999, when local scientists Roger Frisbee and Peter Newsome opened up shop in nearby Arden as PharmAgra Labs.
The company took incremental steps, in 2002 moving to the 11,400-square-foot facility it presently occupies and in 2007 adding a cGMP lab for active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing. PharmAgra's first FDA approval inspection came in 2009.
In November 2019, China's Raybow acquired PharmAgra. Headquartered in Taizhou, Raybow has 1,500 employees and is a major supplier of pharmaceutical companies in Asia, Europe and North America. The company focuses on early-stage R&D and process research through clinical trials.
North Carolina has rapidly grown as a biotech hub. Companies such as Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline have a major presence in the state, and Fujifilm recently announced it will build a $2 billion facility in Holly Springs.
Most of the biotech activity is in the middle of the state, far from sleepy Brevard, a town of fewer than 8,000 near the South Carolina border. Local officials in Brevard celebrated Raybow's move.
“Raybow USA offers high-wage, high-tech job opportunities to our community,” Transylvania County Commissioner Jason Chappell said in a release. “This is a major economic announcement, not only for Transylvania County, but for our region and North Carolina.”
It’s the realization of a dream for Newsome and Frisbee to maintain a thriving business in their backyard.
“These investments fit perfectly with our long-term goal of expanding operations in Transylvania County,” Newsome said.