AAI Pharma to expand headquarters in Wilmington

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Pharmaceutical company AAIPharma is expanding in Wilmington, according to Gov. Pat McCrory.

The governor, along with Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla III and the Economic Develompment Partnership of North Carolina, announced Friday that the company, which has had a local presence for 30 years, will be expanding its global headquarters and laboratory operation here.

“The company’s success and continued growth in Wilmington highlights the fact that life science businesses are flourishing in every corner of North Carolina,” 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.”

In July, both New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington approved incentive grants with AAIPharma in exchange for the company to invest $20 million locally. The county’s grant was for $275,000 and the city’s grant was for $225,000, both spread out over five years, giving the company a total of $500,000 to stay in the area.

“The public might think we’re just handing out a check to AAIPharma today, but we’re not,” Councilman Neil Anderson said at the time. “It’s an investment that we’re making with some real metrics.”

The pharmaceutical and biotech company, which employs over 400 workers in North Carolina, also has facilities in South Carolina, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Missouri and The Netherlands and entertained offers from other areas to expand there. In addition to the city and county incentives, AAIPharma will also receive a performance grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which supports efforts by local governments to attract economic investment, of up to $50,000.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to work with local city, state and county governments to bring more jobs to North Carolina,” said Stephan Kutzer, CEO, President and Chairman of AAIPharma. “State funding and support will help us strengthen our global headquarters in the Wilmington area and provide additional capacity for future growth.”

The company plans to create at least 37 jobs and invest $15.8 million in a new headquarters and expanded laboratory space by 2018, with more anticipated after that. While there will be a range of jobs and their corresponding salaries offered, AAIPharma says the average pay of the positions will be a minimum of $45,100 a year plus benefits, which is above New Hanover County’s current average salary of $38,365 per year.

In addition to the local governments, NC Commerce and the EDPNC, the deal with AAIPharma was also facilitated by the North Carolina General Assembly, the state’s Department of Revenue, the North Carolina Community College System and Wilmington Business Development.