The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is investing $1 million in its budget in bio-defense and agricultural projects.
The funds come from the legislature's budget adjustments for this fiscal year, which Governor Pat McCrory signed earlier this month.
The nonprofit had asked for an extra $7.3 million this year, but incoming president and CEO Doug Edgeton says the money will still go a long way to help companies that are developing measures to fight bioterrorism and produce food for the defense industry.
"How do you supply the largest employer in the world with vaccines if there's a pandemic flu? How do you feed the largest employer of the world's work force? How we package that material to make it last longer and taste better is part of the things we've been working on," Edgeton says.
"North Carolina is home to a large number of military related installations and has several prime contractors for the government here, but no one is focusing on how we bring those initiatives together; this concept of are there ways to raise the profile of North Carolina and our abilities in this sector?"
The Biotechnology Center supports startup companies with loans and services, and is funded by the state. Nearly a quarter of a million people work in the biotech industry in North Carolina.