California medical device sterilization company is buying land and investing $60M in Burlington

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BURLINGTON – A California-based medical device sterilization company will invest nearly $60 million and hire at least 50 workers in Alamance County, and the firm’s CEO says the company will be buying land adjacent to the new facility expecting potential clients to open facilities in close proximity.

SteriTek, headquartered in Freemont, California, will occupy a new 125,000 square foot facility in Burlington, and plans to invest $59.9 million in the project, according to a statement from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

The California company uses electron beam and X-ray systems to “sterilize high volumes of medical devices for the medical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and tissue industries,” according to a statement from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), a partner in landing the project in the state.

“SteriTek is excited to offer contract sterilization services to the medical device and pharma communities in the state of North Carolina.” said Larry Nichols, the CEO of SteriTek, in a statement. “We are purchasing extra land next to our facility to attract life science companies to open facilities near a sterilizer.”

The company plans to hire 50 workers with an average annual salary of $52,500, according to a statement.  And Governor Cooper’s statement notes that the future job roles will include machine operators, managers, office personnel, quality specialists, sales staff, validation specialists, and warehouse employees.

It’s all a part of broadening the company’s market access, according to a statement from EDPNC, and the deal had been in the works since initial conversations began in January.

The company can receive a performance-based grant of $95,000 from the One North Carolina Fund as a part of the economic incentives package agreed to by the State of North Carolina and by the company, and is in part contingent on matching participation from local municipalities.

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Life science sector growth

Life science giant Labcorp is headquartered in Burlington, and though the company plans to split, maintains its corporate offices and continues to hire talent, according to the most recent WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.

“SteriTek’s new facility in Alamance County is a great addition to our already thriving biotechnology and life sciences industry,” said Governor Cooper in the statement.

In 2021, Alamance Community College received a $1.1 million federal grant to boost its programs in biotechnology and the life sciences.  Labcorp had previously announced plans to support the institution, as well.

And Algie Gatewood, president of Alamance Community College (ACC), told WRAL TechWire in February 2021 that there was huge opportunity to drive growth in the life sciences from the county.

“Alamance County is in a unique place when it comes to biotechnology and biological science,” said Gatewood at the time.  “We are essentially equidistant to two of the largest biotechnology regions in the state — the Triad and the Triangle.”

“North Carolina’s life sciences industry is flourishing, and our state continues to attract innovative companies like SteriTek,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of EDPNC, in a statement this week.

The region is seeing other investment, as well, with Chik-fil-A announcing a $52 million distribution center in December 2020 expected to create 160 jobs and an $84 million investment from Lotus Bakeries, expected to create 62 jobs, backed by a grant through the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) as reported in August by WRAL TechWire.

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