Audentes Therapeutics Unveils $110M, 209-Job Gene Therapy Facility in Sanford

[Note: The company’s name was officially changed March 31, 2021 to Astellas Gene Therapies.]

Audentes Therapeutics, a San Francisco gene therapy company, is joining other leaders in the highly specialized field by sticking a manufacturing sword in North Carolina soil.

Audentes, which was purchased in January by Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., will establish a $109.4 million, 209-employee gene therapy production facility targeted to start operations as soon as next year. Expansion phases are planned for the next two years. Hiring is to start this year and grow through 2026.

The announcement ceremony, involving state, local and corporate participants, was held in the industrial shell building Audentes is buying in the Central Carolina Enterprise Park, in the Lee County town of Sanford, about 45 miles southwest of Raleigh.

Workers at the new 135,000-square-foot Audentes factory are to earn an average salary of $83,900. If the company meets hiring milestones, it will qualify for a state Job Development Investment Grant worth up to $3.7 million. Lee County and the city of Sanford are offering up to $5.7 million in incentives. The package includes nearly $400,000 in training support from the North Carolina Community College System.

The company chose to join North Carolina’s burgeoning gene therapy ecosystem after also considering its home state of California, as well as Massachusetts and Colorado.

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