California firm eyeing cancer detection picks RTP for $100 million investment, 400 jobs

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A health care company with a focus on the early detection of cancer plans a $100 million investment in Research Triangle Park that will create nearly 400 jobs.

Grail Inc., founded in 2015 and based in California’s Bay Area, will build a laboratory facility in RTP. The company is developing a blood test that detects dozens of cancer types. The project, announced by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday, includes office and warehouse space.

North Carolina is providing incentives worth up to $5.2 million over 12 years. It’s projected the company will add $1.2 billion to the state’s economy over that same period, according to N.C. Commerce, which said average salaries for the new jobs will be in line with the average annual wage in Durhan County of $71,000.

The state’s Economic Investment Committee approved a Job Development Investment Grant for the company.

Uplaksh Kumar, senior vice president of strategic operations and scale at Grail, said, “This expansion is an important step forward in making our pioneering, multi-cancer early detection blood test widely available to patients and health care providers across the country.”

Grail is a private company whose investors include Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). It recently reached $2 billion in funding following a $390 million raise that closed in early May.

in March, the company posted the results of a 15,000-participant study that showed its diagnostic could specify the organ where cancer was growing with 93 percent accuracy, with a false-positive rate of less than 1 percent, TBJ’s sister publication Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.

“Grail is making significant progress with our blood-based, multi-cancer early detection test,” Hans Bishop, who joined Grail as CEO last year, said in the funding announcement.

Before selecting Research Triangle Park, Grail conducted a nationwide site search led by Newmark Knight Frank.

The latest jobs announcement for the Triangle comes amid the economic fallout from the pandemic, which has put hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians out of work. But big projects continue to be announced for the region. In early April, Raleigh-based Bandwidth announced it will build a new headquarters building off Edwards Mill Road, part of a $100 million capital investment. The company plans to add more than 1,000 jobs in the coming years.

But the competition for jobs will remain stiff for the Triangle when the economy reboots in the wake of the pandemic.

“Even in tough economic times, companies like Grail see that North Carolina is ready to support the life sciences sector with a strong workforce,” said Gov. Cooper. “North Carolina had a solid foundation for job growth before the virus, and that will make the road to recovery faster in the coming months.”

Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal