Drug maker coming to Durham after McCrory, Cooper address HB2

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — A drug-maker that spent six weeks deciding whether to scrap plans for a new North Carolina factory after the state passed a law limiting LBGT protections says it’s going ahead.

New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it will build a $20 million manufacturing and research center in Durham County. The 50 new jobs paying an average of nearly $76,000 a year were announced just before state officials passed House Bill 2 in March. Braeburn said the law caused it to re-evaluate but the company decided to come after conversations with Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“Diversity and non-discrimination are core to the identity of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals and we consider our own organization’s diverse make-up to be a competitive advantage,” said Behshad Sheldon, president and CEO of Braeburn.

“We proudly stand with the growing list of national and local businesses who have spoken out against the injustice of HB2 and in favor of LGBT rights. We seriously considered moving our manufacturing facility to another state to send a clear message about the depth of our commitment. Ultimately, however, we concluded that abandoning Braeburn’s job creation plans in Durham County would unfairly penalize a community that shares Braeburn’s commitment to equality.”

Braeburn said in a statement that McCrory had told the company he expected the federal courts to rule swiftly on the legality of House Bill 2. And Cooper told Sheldon, the company CEO, that Braeburn could help more by advocating from within North Carolina than by protesting through departure.

The company said in a news release it expects legal challenges will overturn the law.

“Braeburn is committed to leading by example. We will build an inclusive workforce in Durham that respects the rights and dignity of all of our employees as well as the surrounding community,” said Sheldon. “We will also advocate for progressive public policy, do our part to help overturn HB2, and support those who share our commitments to diversity and non-discrimination. Battling stigma is central to our mission as we develop medicines for people with opioid addiction, we cannot support stigmatization of any member of our society.”

The bill created a state anti-discrimination law that excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The law also requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates.

WNCN contributed to this article.

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