Life Sciences

Life Sciences

Almost 600 life science companies operate in the Research Triangle Region. They include fast growing start-ups and massive multi-national corporations. 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.

More than 24,000 people are directly employed in this industry, where the average annual wage is $142,900. The sector contributes almost $10 billion to the regional economy and accounts for 2.5% of area’s employment.

North Carolina leads the nation in vaccine manufacturing and has the world’s largest concentration of contract research organizations. To get a glimpse of the industry’s footprint in the region, and discover other facts and figures download our regional life science brochure.

Gene Therapy in The Research Triangle Region

The Research Triangle Region offers renowned academic institutions, plus access to capital and industry partnerships, in one vibrant, business- and family-friendly place that has plenty of room for you to grow your gene & cell therapy venture.

Life Sciences At A Glance






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Location Quotient

Contract Research Organizations

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 Labaroties 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.

Largest Triangle CRO’s By Number of Employees

Business Name Address Number of employees in the Triangle Number of employees in N.C. Total Number of employees companywide
1 Iqvia (HQ)

Durham, NC 2,500 4,800 59,000
2 RTI International (HQ)

RTP, NC 2,037 2,197 4,962
3 PPD                           Morrisville, NC 2,000 3,500 20,000
4 Syneos Health (HQ)     Morrisville, NC 1,800 2,500 23,000
5 Duke Clinical Research Institute (HQ)

Durham, NC 1,300 1,300 1,300


Industry Highlight

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 its 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.

Resource Highlight: 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.

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