Greenville pharma giant salutes its past, points toward big future

By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One of the pharmaceutical pillars on which Pitt County has staked its economic development future showed its investors, community leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper what the future of the industry looks like with a tour of its new expanded state-of-the-art facility.

After a two-year construction project, Mayne Pharma cut the ribbon on its 126,000-square-foot, $80 million oral dose commercial manufacturing facility in Greenville, more than quadrupling the company’s capacity to manufacture potent compounds and adding new capacity to manufacture modified-release bead and pellet products.

The addition increases Mayne Pharma’s Greenville operational footprint to 225,000 square feet.

“Eastern North Carolina is a jewel in this state and is the perfect place for this company to be,” Cooper said. “There’s plenty of space in this facility for a lot more jobs, and we’re ready for that.”

The governor said the company and its new facility represent the core principles of his mission statement: to fill North Carolina with people who are better educated, healthier, have more money in their pockets and have the opportunities to live a more abundant and purposeful life.

“Mayne Pharma and the jobs it is creating will fulfill that mission in many ways,” Cooper said. “We’re going to need better-educated people to work here, and our (public) schools, Pitt Community College and ECU will have a lot to say about that. People are going to be healthier because of what you make here, and it will put more money in pockets … not only of those who work here, but of the surrounding community.”

Cooper focused on Mayne Pharma’s importance to the future economy.

“We are in a race with innovation,” he said. “We have to make sure that North Carolina’s workforce is the most talented, most skilled and most diverse workforce and we do that through education. Mayne Pharma knows the talent is here.”

Scott Richards, Mayne Pharma CEO, retraced the steps from 2012, when Metrics CEO Phil Hodges brought about the merger that allowed the Australian-based pharmaceutical company entry into the U.S. market.

“This merger was truly transformational for Mayne Pharma,” Richards said. “The expanded customer base has led to many successful business opportunities that have fueled our growth. Our combined workforce has shared our common goal of developing medicines that are efficacious, safe and very affordable.”

When the merger occurred, Metrics and Mayne had combined sales of $70 million per year. Last year’s U.S. sales topped $400 million, a 500-percent increase. Five years ago, Mayne Pharma directly marketed two prescription products. Today, the company markets 55 prescription products, while increasing its U.S. workforce from 300 to more than 600 employees, with many added in Greenville, Richards said.

Mayne Pharma will continue its growth in Greenville beyond the new plant debuted Tuesday and the stability center it completed last year. It is repurposing its existing manufacturing facility to support the growth of its Metrics Contract Services division and a new training and cultural center. The company has invested an additional $100 million in research and development to advance its pipeline during the next five years, Richards said.

“We’ve already seen strong returns on this investment, driven by several first-to-market launches developed and manufactured right here in Greenville,” he said.

Roger Corbett, chairman of the Mayne Pharma board, acknowledged the foundational shareholders at the ceremony who had backed Hodges’ development of Metrics in Greenville.

“Many people said it was against the odds, but he delivered a great return on their investment,” Corbett said.

He introduced the Australian contingency of financial backers, led by Bruce Mathieson, who, he said, have backed the company with hundreds of millions of dollars. He thanked Joe Cascone, Mayne’s vice president of operations, whose team built the facility on time and on budget.

Corbett recounted Australia’s history with the United States as close since World War II, when U.S. forces defended the country from Japanese invasion.

“It is quite an emotional thing for we Australians to have our two flags together outside our facility right here in Greenville,” he said. “It’s unique that now they are side by side, representing Australian investment in America.”

Corbett acknowledged the employees of the Greenville facility, saying they should recognize the company’s growth as a benchmark of their achievement.

N.C. District 5 Sen. Don Davis, who toured the new facility with Cooper, described Mayne Pharma as “an amazing accomplishment” for Greenville and Pitt County.

“These are great-paying jobs,” Davis said. “When we talk about the link between the business community with PCC and ECU, this demonstrates why we’re doing what we’re doing, trying to create a direct pipeline for students to actually work and raise families right here in eastern North Carolina.”

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9507.