Kyowa Kirin to Construct New Biologics Manufacturing Facility in North Carolina


The $530 million investment will accelerate the company’s development and production process for therapies in the rare disease space.

A digital rendering of the south facade of Kyowa Kirin's manufacturing facility. Image Credit: Kyowa Kirin

A digital rendering of the south facade of Kyowa Kirin's manufacturing facility. Image Credit: Kyowa Kirin

Kyowa Kirin, Inc., a global specialty pharmaceutical company and affiliate of Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd, will be financially committing up to $530 million for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sanford, NC.1

With construction expected to begin in the second half of 2024—becoming fully operational by 2027—it is anticipated that the 171,700-square-foot, two-reactor facility will help speed up the company's development and production of biologic therapies for patients with rare and serious diseases; it also contributes to the Sanford area's economic growth and development.

Overall, rare diseases affect an estimated 263 to 446 million people worldwide, or 2.5-5.9% of the world’s total population.2 The company believes that it is prepared to meet the needs of patients living with rare and underserved diseases by continuing to add to its experience of discovering and developing novel medicines that benefit patients.

"The extraordinary complexity of the medicines we manufacture requires specialized skills and resources that are in plentiful supply in Sanford and the Research Triangle region," said Paul Testa, EVP, regional head, North America/EMEA manufacturing, Kyowa Kirin North America. "We're excited to collaborate with area colleges, universities, businesses, and civic leaders to ensure that our plans align with Sanford's vision for growth, anchored in a rejuvenated manufacturing economy that offers diverse job opportunities and returns value to the community."

This new facility will be designing biologic therapies, such as antibodies, for both clinical trials and commercial use. This 75-acre campus at Helix Innovation Park at The Brickyard leaves room for future growth in preparation of the growth of pipeline programs.

The company’s aforementioned investment of up to $530 million will also be supplemented by performance-based state and local incentives to Kyowa Kirin that can total $10 million over 12 years. These are predicted to grow the state's economy by $1.05 billion over the course of the grant.

"Our North American presence continues to grow through strategic investments that are adding new capabilities, new therapeutic expertise, and new talent to our global organization, all in service of meeting patients' needs," commented Steve Schaefer, president, Kyowa Kirin North America. "Among the many qualities that drew us to North Carolina are our shared values, such as harmony and teamwork¾known as Wa, which is deeply engrained in our culture at Kyowa Kirin, evident in our longstanding corporate partnerships, and fundamental to high-quality pharmaceutical manufacturing."

The Sanford plant adds to Kyowa Kirin's existing global manufacturing network that features locations in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, and Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, all of which are in Japan. Having a facility in the heart of the life sciences hub in North Carolina (Research Triangle Park) allows the company to fully benefit from biomanufacturing assets at its disposal.

"I am very excited that Kyowa Kirin is constructing a new manufacturing plant for biologics drug substance in the United States," said Toshiyuki Kurata, chief supply chain officer, and global manufacturing head at Kyowa Kirin. "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."


1. Kyowa Kirin Announces Board Approval for Construction of New Biologics Manufacturing Plant in Sanford, NC. Kyowa Kirin. June 10, 2024. Accessed June 11, 2024.,facility%20in%20Sanford%2C%20North%20Carolina.

2. Chung CCY; Hong Kong Genome Project; Chu ATW, Chung BHY. Rare disease emerging as a global public health priority. Front Public Health. 2022 Oct 18;10:1028545. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1028545. PMID: 36339196; PMCID: PMC9632971.

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