Pharmaceutical company may not expand in Durham after HB2 passage

DURHAM, N.C. – A pharmaceutical company is reconsidering plans to expand in the Triangle after the NC legislature passed a law it considers discriminatory against transgender persons.

Just two weeks ago, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced, with Gov. Pat McCrory speaking in support, that the company would establish a manufacturing and research facility in Durham Co. Less than a week later, during a one-day special session, the N.C. General Assembly passed HB2 which eliminated a Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity rather than biology.

HB2 also nullifies local ordinances throughout the state that would expand protections from discrimination against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

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In an official statement, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said it is “reevaluating our options based on the recent unjust legislation.”

The company had planned to bring 52 new jobs to the area in the next five years, along with an investment of nearly $20 million in the site.

Braeburn added that it is “extremely disappointed” with the passage of HB2. “Braeburn Pharmaceuticals believes in fair treatment and equality for all individuals in their communities. We oppose any legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community,” Braeburn said in its statement.

The new law specifically protects those who are discriminated against due to a person’s biological sex as designated on their birth certificate. Critics say that discriminates against those who have not had surgery to change their sex to the one in which they identify or those who were born in states where the birth certificate can’t be changed to reflect a different sex.

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During the announcement March 16 that Braeburn would establish the facility in the Triangle, Gov. McCrory said, “Braeburn Pharmaceuticals joins a long list of life sciences companies that have made North Carolina the nation’s No. 1 state for bio-manufacturing jobs. This company and the pioneering work it plans to do here will make a difference in the lives of patients and families around the world while also adding value to the economy and community of the Research Triangle.”

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, an Apple Tree Partners company, is a pill-free pharmaceutical company delivering “precision” medicine in neuroscience. “Our central mission is to develop new treatments for patients with diseases that are often associated with stigma, such as addiction and schizophrenia,” the company said.

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