Sanford Adds A 2nd Massive Gene Therapy Company To The Community

With North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in attendance, Sanford and Lee County officials have announced the impending arrival of Audentes Therapeutics to the area. Audentes, like its new neighbor Pfizer, undertakes significant work in gene therapy and will set up shop in a spec building in Central Carolina Enterprise Park. The company expects to employ over 200 workers, by the year 2026 at an average annual wage of $83,900. The area’s newest business specializes in developing gene therapy treatments for patients suffering from neuromuscular diseases. Audentes is expected to generate a tax base investment totaling approximately $109 million that includes building purchase, construction enhancement & improvements and property acquisition.

According to Audentes Senior VP Don Wuchterl, “access to a skilled and talented workforce” was a key consideration when the company began searching for a second location. He commented, “We were looking for a community with an established life science presence, and this area is incredible for that.” According to published reports, the Sanford/Lee County location beat out other candidates from California, Colorado and Massachusetts.

In his remarks, Governor Cooper made note of the rapid expansion of gene therapy initiatives in Sanford, Lee County and the region as a whole, observing “North Carolina is a center for the life sciences. Companies across the globe are looking at North Carolina and we are rivaling Cambridge and San Francisco and other places.”

Audentes will take possession of the large spec building in the enterprise park, constructed specifically as an incentive for large manufacturers who are looking to expand or relocate to the area. Audentes will upfit the building to meet their specifications and will receive tax incentives from the city and county over the next 7 years as part of the agreement.

The Audentes announcement comes almost exactly 6 months after Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group revealed its most recent expansion plans to develop gene therapies for treatment of diseases such as hemophilia and muscular dystrophy.