Biotech industry continues to flourish in North Carolina
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHARLOTTE – Biotech is big business in North Carolina.
"It is extremely important to the North Carolina economy," said Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in RTP.
Tolson is excited about a new study from an Ohio-based research firm that says North Carolina's biotech industry grew faster than any other state's between 2001 and 2010.
"During a period of recession, it was the only industry in North Carolina producing a consistent flow of jobs," he said.
The study says biotech is responsible for $59 billion in economic activity in North Carolina and supports more than 237,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.
"Many of the highest-paying, best jobs of the future anywhere are going to be in the biotech industry," said Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan.
Economic developers say there will be plenty of opportunities in biotech as our nation gets older.
"Health care is an industry that is going to continue to grow as the baby boom population ages," Morgan said.
Officials say attracting those jobs is easier thanks to top-notch universities and a decades-long investment in research facilities.
"We have a lot of the ingredients in place," Morgan said.
"This industry has continued to grow and that's because we've invested in it so wisely in it over the years," said Tolson.
Now other states are making investments in an effort to steal North Carolina's success.
"We've been at this a long time in North Carolina and a lot of people have read our playbook," Tolson said. "So now they're trying to spend money to catch up with us."
North Carolina's biotech industry grew at a rate of 23.5 percent between 2001 and 2010, compared to a rate of 6.5 percent nationwide.