Durham has successfully transformed its business and economic landscape from one based upon tobacco and textile products to a modern, cutting-edge economy. GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, and Cree are just some of the forward-thinking companies that have headquarters in Durham.



In this section:


Cost of Living

Industry Clusters

Durham’s various industry clusters contribute to the Durham and the Triangle region’s acclaim as one of the best places to do business in the U.S.

  • Life Sciences
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Human Biotechnology
    • Agricultural Biotechnology
    • Medical Instruments
    • Diagnostics
    • CRO
    • Advanced Medical Care
  • Financial Services
  • IT/Informatics
  • Transportation Products
  • Environmental/Green Products/Electronics
  • Education
  • Automated Products


Research Triangle Park


The Research Triangle Park (RTP) is the largest research park in the country and one of the largest in the world.

Home to more than 200 global companies including IBM, Syngenta Biotechnology, RTI International, BASF, and Cisco. RTP fosters a culture of innovation, education, and industry.

RTP is located between three major universities: Duke University in Durham, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Through five decades, the Park still holds to its founders’ aspirations: to generate economic activity, engage the talents of local graduates and citizens and carry North Carolina forward to ever-greater prominence and prosperity.

Research Triangle Park Quick Facts:

  • Largest science park in the United States
  • 7,000 acres
  • 22.5 million sq. ft. of built space
  • 200 global companies
  • 50,000+ high-tech employees
  • 80% work for multi-national companies
  • Combined annual payroll of $2.9B
  • Park Center Plan introduced in 2016
  • The Frontier, a mixed-use space, including free co-working and drop in meeting space is the flagship building of Park Center.

RTP events highlighting everything from local food to big data spotlight the buzzing activity at RTP and in the surrounding area. Always looking ahead, the RTP staff finds ways to stay relevant in a changing global business environment.

RTP EPA w WMRTP standing female chemist w WM

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Large Employers/Manufacturers and Headquarters

Below you will find a listing of Durham’s largest employers and manufacturing firms by number of employees as well as companies that have committed to a headquarters in Durham. These are just a few of the incredible businesses in Durham.

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Duke University & Health System 34,863
International Business Machines (IBM) 10,000
Durham Public Schools 4,600
GlaxoSmithKline 3,700
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina 3,200
Durham City Government 2,437
Fidelity Investments 2,400
QuintilesIMS 2,300
Research Triangle Institute (RTI) 2,300
Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center 2,162
Cree, Inc. 2,125
AW North Carolina, Inc. 2,000
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1,950
Durham County Government 1,720
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 1,372
North Carolina Central University 1,248
Walmart 1,150
Merck & Co., Inc 1,600
Lab Corp 1,000
BASF Corporation Agricultural Products Group 950
National Institutes of Health 860
Kroger 855
Frontier Communications 850
Durham Technical Community College 791
Bayer CropScience 750
EMC Corp 700
bioMerieux, Inc. 630
Harris Teeter 617
Assisted Living Concepts 601
ViiV Healthcare Co 580
Food Lion 559
SunTrust Banks, Inc. 550
Chick-Fil-A, Inc. 540
EmergeOrtho 512



AICPA Financial Services
Amundi Smith Breeden Financial Services
Appia IT/Informatics
Associated Scaffolding Construction
Atcom IT/Informatics
AW North Carolina Vehicle Parts
BASF Agricultural Products Life Sciences
Bayer Crop Science Life Sciences
BioMerieux Life Sciences
BlueCross BlueShield of NC Life Sciences
Bell & Howell IT/Informatics
Brame Specialty Shipping
Brenntag Southeast Chemicals
Bronto Software IT/Informatics
Bryant Durham Electric Construction
Burt’s Bees Life Sciences
Cato Research Life Sciences
Cenduit Life Sciences
Cheminova Life Sciences
Chimerix Life Sciences
Clarkston Consulting IT/Informatics
CMED Life Sciences
Cormetech Green/CleanTech
Counter Culture Coffee Food
Cree Electronics
Dealers Supply Construction
Doe & Ingalls Chemcials
Duke Corporate Edcuatinos Education
Duke University Education & Health Services
East Coast Metal Distributors Building Materials
Emrise Electronics
FHI 360 Public Health
Freudenberg Nonwovens Textiles
Futures Group Life Sciences
Grifols Life Sciences
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Life Sciences
Health Decisions Life Sciences
Hydro Services & Supplies Electronics
IBM-Divisional Electronics/Software
InterHealth Worldwide Life Sciences
International Society of Automation Association
McAdams Services
McKinney Advertising
Measurement Inc. Educational Testing
Mechanics & Farmers Bank Financial Services
MEMA Transportation
Merritt Webb Services
MM Fowler/Family Fare Retail
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement Education
NC Mutual Life Insurance Financial Services
Nuvotronics Electronics
Overture Networks IT/Informatics
Parata Systems Life Sciences
Patheon Life Sciences
Quintiles Life Sciences
Reichhold Material Sciences
RHO Life Sciences
RTI International Research
SciMetrica Life Sciences
Scynexis Life Sciences
Self Help Credit Union Financial Services
Sipcam Agro Life Sciences
Bioventus Life Sciences
Southeast Foods – Dog House Retail
Sportsmedia Technology IT/Informatics
Square 1 Bank Financial Services
Steel Network Building Materials
Sterling Physician Groups Life Sciences
Syngenta Life Sciences
TBM Consulting Services
Toshiba Global Commerce IT/Informatics
Triangle Brick Building Materials
Triangle Orthopedics Life Sciences
Troxler Material Sciences
US Veterans Affairs-Regional HQ Life Sciences
Zoetis – Poultry Health Life Sciences

Learn Why Talented Employees Love Durham >>



Foreign-Based Businesses in Durham

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  • Virco Lab

  • Adherex
  • GEEP
  • Quarry Integrated Comms

  • Q-Edge Corporation

  • Cheminova
  • Unicon Concrete

  • Vacon
  • Cargotec

  • bioMérieux, Inc.
  • MemsCap

  • Alsco
  • Athenix Corp
  • BASF Corporation Agricultural Products Group
  • Bayer CropScience
  • Brenntag Southeast
  • Cytonet
  • FIT
  • Freudenberg Tufts Nonwovens
  • G Data
  • LeHigh Hanson Cement Group
  • Linde Gas America
  • Triangle Brick

  • Cirrus

  • Icon

  • Audio Codes

  • Isagro
  • Sipcam Agro USA

  • AW North Carolina, Inc.
  • Cormetech
  • Eisai, Inc.
  • Fuji Silysia Chemical Ltd.
  • Hitachi Data Systems
  • JMC USA, Inc.
  • Kowa Research Institute
  • Medicago
  • Sumitomo Electric Lightwave
  • Shimizu

  • Cloud Factory

  • Grifols
South Korea

  • McKinney

  • Ericsson

  • Gretag Macbeth
  • Sulzer
  • Syngenta
United Kingdom

  • Almac Clinical Services
  • Almac Diagnostics
  • Bioventus
  • Cyprotex North America
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Millenium Hotel
  • Stiefel
  • ViiV Healthcare


Please click below for information about companies that relocated to Durham or expanded operations.

2016 Announcements

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2015 Announcements

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2014 Announcements

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2013 Announcements

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Learn about Major Industry Clusters in Durham >>


With a mature, knowledge based economy, Durham sure has smarts. Talent exists here in a variety of sectors. See below for demographics or if you’re looking for a census overview, click here.

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