Recently, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton sat down with NCBiotech’s President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Edgeton via Zoom and filmed an episode of Critical Conversations. In this series, Scott talks with professionals about economic development issues affecting the state.
NCBiotech is a life sciences, technology-based economic development organization that helps grow the life sciences sector in North Carolina. Among the many programs at NCBiotech, a few of the main areas of focus are providing competitive grants and loans to help bring new technologies to market and recruiting new companies to North Carolina.
Edgeton became NCBiotech’s President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2014.
Edgeton brings extensive executive-level experience in healthcare from major academic medical centers, research park development and business administration, including an emphasis on community service. Throughout his career, Edgeton has managed both human resources (talent) and facilities, helping them work in concert to create the right ecosystem for organizational growth. This approach led to more efficient organizations, faster technology transfer and better patient care. Edgeton continues this approach at the NCBiotech, targeting state investment and staff expertise to help North Carolina’s life sciences companies grow, create jobs, and bring life-changing technologies to market.
Since 1984, NCBiotech has made grants to support universities to take technology and move it to the market. Currently NCBiotech has a Flash Grant program that provides $20,000 and $27,500 with an intern. The next deadline is March 20th at noon. NCBiotech also offers a Small Business Research Loan and a Strategic Growth Loan for businesses. NCBiotech also has a Translational Research Grant. Learn more about these grant and loan opportunities by clicking here. Edgeton shared that for every $1 in grant money, $58 is put back into the economy. He also said that for every $1 in loans $140 is put back into the economy. Edgeton shared that the best way to receive funding for the grants or loans is to reach out to a team member at NCBiotech. They will help applicants to understand what the best information is to provide in the applications. Edgeton stated that NCBiotech’s five-year goal is to attract $4 billion external venture capital into the state. He shared that NCBiotech has achieved $3.8 billion so far and has until 2025 to reach that goal.
This year marks NCBiotech’s 40th Anniversary. Edgeton said that some of the major accomplishments over the years include things like a library of market-based research. He said that this information is used to help recruit life sciences companies to North Carolina. He also shared that NCBiotech wrote the manual on the BioWork Program. Edgeton shared that 10 community colleges across the state use the manual and customize it for their specific community’s training needs. Edgeton also shared that NCBiotech helped conceive the idea of BTEC at NC State University and BRITE at NC Central University. Golden LEAF was a key funder for both BTEC and BRITE. Edgeton shared that the federal government uses these programs to help train their employees.
Edgeton said that NCBiotech has been the first dollars in for several very strong and successful life sciences companies in the state. He shared that NCBiotech serves an active role in recruiting these companies to the state. Edgeton shared that the average wage of a life science employee is $112,000 which is double the state average wage. He said that these companies are also strong community partners and support activities in the community. Edgeton stated that not all states have these types of recruiting organizations and that North Carolina has been ahead of the game by putting together programs that support research and company recruitment.
Some of the key partners of NCBiotech include the continuous funding provided by the North Carolina General Assembly and the State of North Carolina. Edgeton added that the university system is a great partner, which produces talent as well as the ideas for research and products. He also shared that the North Carolina Community College System provides training to many of the life sciences employers. He stated that the K-12 school system is partnering more with providing students with opportunities right out of high school that show a proficiency in science and math.
While NCBiotech’s main office is located in the Research Triangle, there are several regional offices that reach out into the rest of the state. Edgeton shared that the future of life sciences includes ag tech. There is a big movement towards making sure there is enough food to feed the world and to provide healthy food to all. Edgeton also shared that a survey revealed that people living in 96 of the 100 counties are working in life sciences companies in North Carolina. He said that meant that people will commute from a county or two over to earn the wages the life sciences companies offer. In fact, Edgeton shared that 75,000 people are directly employed in life sciences jobs and that life sciences has a $88.3 billion impact on our state, making it the second largest industry in the state.
Learn more about NCBiotech, its funding opportunities, and impact by visiting NCBiotech.org.
Critical Conversations is a feature in the Golden LEAF newsletter every month. The next edition will be in our March 14th edition.