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Local Government
Gene Therapy Firm AveXis Durham Expansion Will Add 200 Jobs And $60 Million In Investment PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 10:14

RALEIGH: AveXis, Inc., a leading gene therapy company developing treatments for rare and life-threatening neurological diseases, will create 200 jobs as it expands its manufacturing center in Durham Count.The new center was first announced in May of last year. AveXis will invest an additional $60 million in the facility.


"North Carolina’s expertise in the life sciences continues to lead the nation,” said GovernorRoy Cooper. “Pioneering companies like AveXis keep our state at the forefront of promising new approaches like gene therapy, which opens up new ways for us to tackle tough diseases.”


A Novartis company headquartered in Bannockburn, Illinois, AveXis’ initial product candidate, AVXS-101, now known as ZOLGENSMA® (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi),* is an investigational gene replacement therapy for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1. ZOLGENSMA is designed to address the genetic root cause of SMA Type 1, a deadly neuromuscular disease with limited treatment options. ZOLGENSMA previously received Breakthrough Therapy designation and has been granted Priority Review by the FDA, with regulatory action anticipated in May 2019. 


“Our primary focus is to bring gene therapies to patients suffering from devastating rare neurological genetic diseases, such as SMA, genetic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Rett syndrome. Continued investment in our infrastructure in North Carolina will allow us to manufacture multiple gene therapies simultaneously, helping us reach more patients, faster,” said Andy Stober, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Chief Technical Officer, AveXis. “Gene therapy manufacturing requires a highly skilled team, and Research Triangle Park is an ideal location for our continued expansion as it enables us to recruit top talent, including through partnership with local schools and colleges.”


“Life science companies like AveXis understand the many advantages our state offers biomanufacturers” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.  “I’m pleased to see a growing number of gene therapy companies join North Carolina’s established industry cluster, taking advantage of the world-class talent and educational resources available here.”


The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) led the state’s support for the company’s expansion.


AveXis will create a variety of positions in Durham County, including scientists, engineers, analysts, manufacturing and operations personnel. Salaries for the new positions will average $72,952, which is higher than the current Durham County average wage of $68,731.


AveXis’ expansion in Durham County will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $1.3 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,447,500, spread over 12 years.  State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.  AveXis must also remain in full compliance with its May, 2018 JDIG in order to receive payments from today’s grant. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.


Because AveXis chose to expand in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $483,000 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state. 

Coastal Communities Win Grant For Beach and Waterfront Access PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 11:09

A total of 12 coastal communities will get more than $1.1 million in grants to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The grants go to towns along the coast from Manteo to Holden Beach and many points in between.


“North Carolina’s coast is one of our greatest treasures and we want it to be accessible to all,” Governor Cooper said. “These grants will help coastal communities welcome more people to enjoy our spectacular beaches and waterways, increasing investment in our state’s economy.”


The grants come from the state Division of Coastal Management in the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.


“We want people to be able to enjoy North Carolina’s beautiful coast,” said Michael S. Regan, secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. “These funds will help make our beaches and waterways more accessible for the benefit of every visitor, as well as the businesses who benefit from their visit.”


Awards will go to the following communities:


*     Atlantic Beach received $47,852 to replace an existing beach access boardwalk with one compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Bald Head Island received $19,160 to create an ADA-compatible access site for South Beach.

*     Cape Carteret received $114,750 for the purchase of a 1.47-acre property to provide access to Pettiford Creek.

*     Edenton received $110,000 to replace a bulkhead at Queen Anne Park.

*     Elizabeth City received $138,000 for a floating dock, kayak launch, fishing pier, additional parking and amenities at Coast Guard Park along the Pasquotank River.

*     Gatesville received $36,800 for renovations of Bennett’s Creek Park that include a pavilion, boardwalk, and kayak launch along Bennett’s Creek.

*     Holden Beach received $16,335 for the construction of a dune crossover at Ocean Boulevard West.

*     Manteo received $95,376 to renovate the downtown boardwalk along Shallowbag Bay.

*     Nags Head received $122,226 to construct an ADA-accessible dune crossover, parking and other amenities at the Jacob’s Street ocean access.

*     New Bern received $97,500 to construct a kayak launch with an ADA-compatible floating dock, parking area and restroom at Martin Marietta Park on the Neuse River.

*     Pasquotank County received $84,000 for renovations to the Pasquotank River Boardwalk.

*     Plymouth received $107,500 for renovations to Waterfront Park, including handicap parking improvements.

*     Wrightsville Beach received $187,500 for the construction of the East Salisbury Street Oceanfront Park with restrooms and shower facilities.


The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments in the 20 coastal counties. Governments that receive grants must match them by contributing at least 25 percent toward the project’s cost.


Funding for the grant program comes from the North Carolina General Assembly through the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Access projects may include walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas, piers and related projects. Funds also may be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization. Staff with the state Division of Coastal Management selected the recipients based on criteria set by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission.

State AFL-CIO Praises City Of Durham Workers Rights Commission PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 23 January 2019 10:36

Statement by NC State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan on the creation of the Durham Workers’ Rights Commission:

“We applaud Mayor Steve Schewel and the City Council for creating the Durham Workers’ Rights Commission and setting an example for other cities. Today’s action shows that even with pre-emption and other constraints legislative leaders have placed on local governments, city officials can raise the bar and take proactive steps to ensure that working people are treated fairly.

“We will work with union members and community partners to encourage other municipalities to create similar commissions. At the same time, we will continue to lobby the legislature to remove the unnecessary restrictions they have placed on local governments’ ability to improve labor standards. Our lobbying efforts will include joining with Durham city leaders to call for the repeal of G.S. 95-98 that denies government entities the freedom to enter into collectively negotiated contracts with their employees.

“The legislature’s job is to set the floor not the ceiling for wages, leave policies, and safety requirements. Local officials should be empowered to raise standards in their communities. We thank the workers and city officials in Durham for upping the ante and pushing our legislature and local governments to do better by working people.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 10:47
Reward Offered In Wake County Murder PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Donna Martinez   
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 10:02

The State of North Carolina is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of United States Army Specialist Jose Juan Melendez, Jr., age 31.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Specialist Melendez was meeting friends in Raleigh while on leave. He volunteered to be the designated driver for the group before returning to duty at Fort Bragg. Specialist Melendez was walking to his vehicle around 3:20 a.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 when he was shot and killed in the 2200 block of Raven Road in Raleigh, an apartment complex near Falls of Neuse Road.

Anyone with information concerning this case is urged to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-4357 or the State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 10:04

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