Leading the nation in vaccine manufacturing, and we're home to the world's largest cluster of CROs.

Ranging from fast growing start-ups to massive multi-national corporations, more than 600 life science companies operate in the Research Triangle Region.

We’re proud to be home to companies with a wide range of expertise. Some are focused solely on research, while others specialize in manufacturing drug therapies at a scale that can’t be replicated anywhere in the world.

Graphical rendering of human DNA and its helix, ladder-like structure.

Life Science at a Glance

There are over 600 Life Science companies in the region.
There are 24,150 people employed in Life Sciences in the region.
The average annual salary in life sciences is $142,000.
The Life Sciences contributes 9.8 billion dollars to the Gross Regional Product.
The employment growth rate in Life Sciences is 12 percent.
The 4th Largest Life Sciences Hub in the U.S. is located in the Research Triangle Region.

Life Science Companies Located in the Triangle

(Partial List)

Industry Highlights

Front entrance of NovoNordisk facility. The company logo is on a white sign with the main building right behind it.

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global corporation with more than 42,000 employees in 79 countries. They work every day to find ways to defeat serious chronic conditions and are recognized as a world leader in diabetes care.

The company’s Clayton (Johnston County) facility — home to the primary U.S. diabetes manufacturing facility — recently announced a $2 billion expansion that will add another 1,000 jobs by 2020.

Novo Nordisk is not only a great economic engine for the Research Triangle Region and the state of North Carolina, they’re also an outstanding environmental steward and corporate citizen. Needless to say, the Research Triangle Region is incredibly fortunate to have Novo Nordisk and companies like them doing business here.

North Carolina Biotechnology Center name on a brick sign.

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

As a private, non-profit, state-funded corporation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center provides access to the people and resources companies need to get started in North Carolina. This includes identifying local talent and working with local government and economic development agencies to overcome challenges specific to life science. NCBiotech offers office space in its Landing Pad for relocating companies and grants to address gaps in infrastructure.

For the past 35 years, NCBiotech has supported the progression of ideas from research lab to marketplace. Consequently, North Carolina’s life science community is comprised of 700+ companies employing 64,500+ employees. NCBiotech continues to invest in technology development through grants and in company development through loans.

The Birthplace of the CRO
(Contract Research Organization)

The Research Triangle Region is known as the birthplace of Contract Research Organizations with the formation of IQVIA (formerly Quintiles) in the Triangle Region. Today, seven of the top 10 global CRO’s operate in the Research Triangle Region – IQVIA, Syneos Health, Parexel, PRA Health Sciences, PPD, Charles River Laboratories International and Icon Public Limited Corp.

Not to mention, seven CRO’s are headquartered here including IQVIA, RTI International, Syneos Health, Duke Clinical Research Institute, PRA Health Sciences, FHI 360 and Rho.

A pair of medical gloved hands holding a LifeFlow device.

The Pipeline for the Future

As the Research Triangle’s life sciences industry continues to grow, so does the need for a strong workforce. North Carolina offers one of the most comprehensively connected postsecondary education system in the country, which is supported by the North Carolina Community College System. This connected system for learning provides a diversity of industry options that allows for new growth and career pathway development.

In partnership with the universities and community colleges, several organizations and training programs have designed curriculums with input from NC's biotech industry to provide practical, job-ready experience in the biological and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.

Workforce Highlights

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Part of the BioNetwork - the Life Science Training Initiative of the North Carolina Community College System - BioWork trains students for a career as a process technician for biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies, as part of a 136-certificate program available at seven of our area's community colleges.


Since 2002, NCBioImpact, an internationally recognized, first-of-its-kind training program, works to combine the resources of our university and community college systems to meet the growing demands of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The training programs partner closely with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, NCBIO, the NC Department of Commerce and industry to form a unique academic, industry and government collaborative.


At North Carolina Central University, Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) students follow curriculums developed in partnership with premier biotech companies and participate in hands-on research, earning a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, with a concentration in bioanalytical chemistry, protein separation sciences or molecular cloning.


The Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) at N.C. State offered the first graduate degree in biomanufacturing available in the country. This unique, cross-disciplinary center, funded by a grant from Golden LEAF and supported by $5.5M in annual state funding, provides hands-on training with the latest biomanufacturing technologies, minimizing training time and costs incurred by the industry.

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North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network


The North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network is a collaboration between East Carolina University (ECU) and Pitt Community College (PCC), just 30 miles from RTRP's eastern counties, that provides a continuum of pharmaceutical education and training to new and existing companies.  PSN@ECU offers a lab-based education and training, while PSN@PCC provides a pilot plant type manufacturing environment and lab scale equipment. Attendees come from regional pharma companies, including ThermoFisher, Mayne Pharma, and GSK, as well as the general public.

Life Sciences News

Novo Nordisk strikes potential $2B-plus gene editing deal with Durham’s Life Edit

June 1, 2023
Gene editing from a Durham-based firm that will target possible new therapeutics has led to a deal with international drug firm Novo Nordisk worth a potential $2 billion if not more. Life Edit, which is owned by Boston based ElevateBio, and Novo Nordisk, which has a big presence in the Triangle, announced the deal Wednesday. […]

Durham company grows human blood vessels, sends them to wounded Ukraine soldiers

June 1, 2023
A Durham company is saving lives in Ukraine in an unusual way. They’re producing blood vessels – in a lab – that are helping trauma patients in war zone hospitals. From the outside, the Humacyte building blends right in at Research Triangle Park. Inside, however, what they’re doing is unlike anything else you’ll find in the world. […]

Morrisville based life science company Syneos to be acquired in $7.1B deal

May 10, 2023
 Syneos Health, a biopharma services company based in Morrisville, is being acquired by a group of investors in a deal worth $7.1 billion. The deal was announced early Wednesday. Syneos shares (SYNH) immediately rose nearly 9% to just under $42. The company has some 22,000 employees worldwide. Buyers are investment firms Elliott Investment Management, Patient […]