Improving Business in the Wilmington Region


Growth of Life Sciences Adds Diversification to Region’s Economy

November 20, 2015 (Wilmington, N.C.) – AAIPharma Services Corp./ Cambridge Major Laboratories, Inc. (AAIPharma/CML), the contract drug development and manufacturing provider, will invest $15.8 million in expanded lab operations and corporate headquarters space in Wilmington over the coming three years, Governor Pat McCrory announced today. The move will bring at least 37 new jobs to the Port City over the coming three years, with a total of 50 jobs and $20 million in new investment anticipated by the end of the project in 2019.

AAIPharma/CML’s presence in Greater Wilmington stretches back three decades, and the company currently employs nearly 400 workers at three sites here. Jonathan Barfield, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commission, says the expansion underscores the importance of supporting existing businesses. “Job one in New Hanover County is to grow the number of jobs,” Barfield said. “It is wonderful when a valued employer in the community chooses to expand in the County and to grow the number of well-paid positions, particularly in an industry sector that is so important to our area.”

AAIPharma/CML has operated in Wilmington for the past 30 years. AAIPharma and Cambridge Major Laboratories joined together in 2013 to form a fully integrated custom development and manufacturing organization. The company’s expertise spans pharmaceutical development, analytical and manufacturing services for every stage of drug development. In addition to its sites in Wilmington, the company has operations in Durham, N.C., as well as Missouri, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Weert, The Netherlands. Its company-wide workforce totals about 830.

“We appreciate this opportunity to work with city, state and county governments to bring more jobs to the Wilmington area and contribute to the growth of life sciences in the area,” said Stephan Kutzer, CEO, President and Chairman of AAIPharma Services/ Cambridge Major Laboratories.

“AAIPharma/CML’s expansion is central to the larger story of Wilmington’s emergence as a destination for biotechnology,” said Dickson McLean, chairman of Wilmington Business Development (WBD). The organization worked with county, city and state government partners in impressing upon AAIPharma/CML executives Greater Wilmington’s readiness for the additional jobs and investment. As a major biotech presence here, AAIPharma/CML’s growth mirrors that of another homegrown drug discovery firm, PPD, Inc., which employs about 1,600 at its Wilmington headquarters. “The life sciences industry adds a lucrative dimension to our regional economy, bringing additional diversification along with high-paying jobs, significant capital investment and generous community engagement,” McLean said.

Once complete, AAIPharma/CML’s expanded presence is expected to add $16.8 million to Greater Wilmington’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to an economic impact assessment by UNC Wilmington’s Swain Center for Business and Economic Services. But the company’s value to the region cannot be measured strictly in dollar terms, said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “AAIPharma/CML invests leadership, credibility and volunteerism in our community that amplify its economic impact,” he said. The company and its employees are active in a range of charitable causes, for example, including Work on Wilmington, WHQR public radio, and local chapters of the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The Wilmington City Council voted unanimously in July to pledge an award of up to $225,000 in performance-based incentives over five years should AAIPharma/CML select Wilmington for its expansion. New Hanover County Commissioners approved a similar $275,000 measure a few days earlier. The company considered other locations around the country before choosing Wilmington, where it will add scientists, data specialists, instrument specialists and other employees to its staff. Wages will vary by position, but total annual compensation (wages plus bonuses and benefits) for the new workers will average no less than $77,000.

“I’m grateful to our partners at Wilmington Business Development for the skillful way they ushered this exciting opportunity to fruition,” Mayor Saffo added. WBD also collaborated with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Cape Fear Community College in facilitating AAIPharma/CML’s expansion choice. The company will receive a grant from the One North Carolina Fund totaling as much as $50,000 as AAIPharma/CML meets agreed-upon hiring and capital spending targets over the coming three years. Free, customized training also will be available to the company’s new workers through the North Carolina Community College System.

“AAIPharma/CML’s success and continued growth in Wilmington highlights the fact that life science businesses are flourishing in every corner of North Carolina,” Governor McCrory said. “Our state plays an increasingly key role in efforts to pioneer new treatments for people around the world, and this corporate expansion keeps that momentum going.”

Scott Satterfield, chief executive officer at Wilmington Business Development, said the announcement is the culmination of months of work bringing the necessary leaders to the table and embracing the opportunities that come with a major corporate expansion. “In a project like this, there are a lot of moving parts,” Satterfield said. “Our job is to make sure those parts move together smoothly and efficiently. WBD is proud to support AAIPharma/CML’s long-term growth plans, along with other exciting projects we have on the horizon.”