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Life Sciences Firm Moving To New $10M Facility In Leland

By Cece Nunn, posted Aug 25, 2021
A growing life sciences firm that's expected to continue to add employees in the coming years is moving to Leland from Southport to support its ongoing expansion. 

Cygnus Technologies Inc., part of Maravai LifeSciences (Nasdaq: MRVI), will move to a 45,000-square-foot facility under development by Wilmington-based CIGG LLC at Waterford Commercial Park, according to a town of Leland announcement.

The two-story office building at 1523 Olde Waterford Way will house 50 existing Cygnus employees with room for up to 150 employees that could be hired over the next five years, the news release stated.

Cygnus Technologies manufactures, assembles and distributes kits that allow pharmaceutical and biotech companies to detect and identify host cell impurities in biotherapeutics, a major step in regulatory approval and quality control. The term "biotherapeutics" refers to treatments that involve living cells, according to a research website.

Christine Dolan, COO of Cygnus Technologies, said Wednesday that when the company moved into its 20,000-square-foot facility in Southport in 2013, it had less than 10 employees. The firm was acquired by Maravai in 2016. 

“With the tremendous growth Cygnus Technologies has realized and is projecting for the future, we have outgrown our current facility,” Dolan said. “CIGG LLC and the town of Leland were able to provide us with the best opportunity to meet our expansion and location needs.” 

Construction of the Cygnus office, for which CIGG is investing more than $10 million, is expected to begin this fall by Environments Unlimited Inc., the release stated. 

Gary Vidmar, economic and community development director for the town of Leland, said the move is a "huge announcement" for the northern Brunswick County community.

"This is what we’ve been trying to accomplish for many years," he said. "Obviously, we have a variety of service jobs that we've had for a long time with our restaurants and retail components that have existed and continue growing here, but we've never been able to attract professional companies outside of the medical field such as this company and we hope there’s others that will become attracted to Leland as well."

Dolan said Cygnus employs scientists, sometimes hiring them directly after they earn their degrees from local schools such as the University of North Carolina Wilmington and across the state. She said Cygnus also has employees who have PhDs on its staff that the firm has recruited nationally.

The new Cygnus office was designed by Philip Humphrey with PGH Architecture. Financing is being provided by First Bank and legal counsel was provided by Jeff Keeter with Block, Crouch, Keeter, Behm & Sayed LLP, the release stated.

Jeremy Phillips of Environments Unlimited Commercial Real Estate negotiated the long-term lease with Cygnus on behalf of CIGG.
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