Hundreds of new jobs to be created by medicines firm
Up to 350 jobs are to be created at a pharmaceutical firm following a £400m cash injection.
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, in Belasis Avenue, Billingham, says the investment will double the size of its site and create the largest multi-modal biopharmaceutical manufacturing site in the UK.
New facilities are expected to be operational by late 2023.
Chief executive Martin Meeson said: "We all know that there has never been a more important time to invest in biopharmaceuticals and £400m, the largest investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing for decades, signals our intent to be able to respond to our customers' needs with flexibility and agility to help solve public health demands, and deliver the medicines and vaccines of tomorrow.
"With a strong growing demand for microbial, cell culture and viral gene therapy services, we are adding the capacity and latest technologies within one campus to offer a range of modalities to build an offering that will deliver novel promising treatments to patients for years to come."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I am delighted that Fujifilm has identified the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation.
"At £400 million, this is a significant investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing and will power our response to some of today's most urgent global health challenges and deliver life-changing medicines and vaccines to patients in need."
Paul Found, the company's chief operating officer, added: "It's our vision for the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' site in Billingham to be the beating heart of the rapidly expanding North East Life Sciences ecosystem, and this investment will create up to 350 highly skilled jobs and additional benefits across the local and national supply chain."
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the investment was a "major statement" for Teesside.
"This makes our region as the number one location for biosciences investment outside of Cambridge," he said.
"A staggering achievement that we're now reaping the rewards for.
"A few years ago I met the global Fujifilm executives in Japan and we supported the firm with £3.6m for its new Biocampus which opened earlier this year,
"I'm delighted they've committed even more to our region, creating 350 good-quality, well-paid jobs for the people of Hartlepool, Teesside and Darlington, while helping to attract and keep the best and brightest here."