Kyowa Kirin will build $530M Research Triangle Park biologics facility


Dive Brief:

  • Japan-based pharmaceutical company Kyowa Kirin plans to invest up to $530 million to build a new biologic therapies manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina.
  • The plant is on a 75-acre campus in the Research Triangle Park region, with room for future expansion to meet capacity needs, according to a June 10 company press release.
  • The 171,700-square-foot facility, equipped with two reactors used for drug production, is set to break ground later this year and be fully operational by 2027. The plant will create more than 100 new jobs.

Dive Insight:

Kyowa Kirin is a biotechnology and drug manufacturing company specializing in antibody technologies in core therapeutic areas such as oncology treatments for the central nervous system.

The Sanford facility is part of a larger effort to build out Kyowa Kirin’s global manufacturing network, which includes sites in Takasaki and Ube, Japan. 

“The new facility will be scalable with our Takasaki Plant in Japan to help ease technology transfer between the two plants and add production capacity. We believe this will help accelerate drug development and production,” said Toshiyuki Kurata, chief supply chain officer and global manufacturing head at Kyowa Kirin.

Kyowa Kirin’s new facility aims to accelerate the production of biologic therapies for rare and serious diseases, including antibodies for the company’s planned clinical trials and future commercial use, according to the release.

The manufacturing investment will be supported by $10 million in performance-based state and local incentives over 12 years, according to the release.

Kyowa Kirin has been growing its North American presence since 2018, which accounted for more than a quarter of Kyowa Kirin’s global revenues in 2022, according to a company press release. The pharmaceutical company established its North American headquarters in New Jersey in July 2023 and has a research facility in La Jolla, California.

The pharmaceutical company seeks to benefit from the biomanufacturing network established in Research Triangle Park, one of the country’s largest designated research parks. 

Fujifilm contract drugmaker Diosynth Biotechnologies has a 119-acre campus in the park and glass syringe maker Schott Pharma is building a facility for use in GLP-1 therapies, set to start production in 2027. In February, National Resilience announced it’s expanding its fill and finish operations at its Durham site amid a company-wide effort to scale its drug manufacturing capacity.



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