ompanies that develop bio-pharmaceuticals, manufacture laboratory testing instruments and distribute pharmaceuticals and healthcare products are finding what they need to succeed in the Mid-Atlantic region. But life sciences is hardly the only industry drawn there. Northrop Grumman, a leading defense contractor specializing in aerospace, shipbuilding, information systems and related businesses, announced in July that it had purchased a Falls Church, Va., building in which to relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles, adding to the region's clout as a center of defense-related industry. The company already employs about 40,000 in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
McKesson Corp., Testing Machines Inc. and Integrated BioTherapeutics (IBT) all share a life-sciences common denominator by providing products and services to a vital U.S. industry. And Virginia, Delaware and Maryland all benefit from their site location strategies.
McKesson, a leading healthcare services and information technology company, will invest about $50 million to establish distribution operations in Fredericksburg, in Caroline County, Va. The project will create approximately 150 new jobs. The company will distribute pharmaceuticals and health care products to independent retail, national retail accounts and institutional accounts. Virginia successfully beat Maryland and Pennsylvania for a second McKesson project — the corporate headquarters of McKesson Medical-Surgical is in Richmond.
"After reviewing a number of excellent options in the region, we're extremely pleased to have selected Caroline County as home to our newest distribution center," said John Figueroa, president, U.S. Pharmaceutical Distribution, McKesson Corp., at the August 6th announcement. "Once complete, this new facility will allow us to more efficiently serve our growing customer needs with the most advanced material handling systems available while providing new employment opportunities in the region."
Testing Machines Inc. (TMI), a supplier of laboratory testing instrumentation, is relocating its headquarters and manufacturing operations from Long Island, N.Y., to a new, 20,000-sq.-ft. (1,860-sq.-m.) facility in New Castle, Del. The Delaware Economic Development Office awarded TMI a $500,000 loan from the Delaware Strategic Fund for working capital and the acquisition of machinery and equipment associated with the relocation. If the company hires and maintains a minimum of 50 full-time employees over three years, $100,000 of the loan will convert to a grant.
Testing Machines made a capital investment of $300,000 to build an environmentally friendly plant including a solar-power system with 160 solar power panels generating 50 kilowatts. The work was contracted by Wise Power Systems of Wilmington. Fifteen wells will provide geothermal heating and cooling. A new membrane roof was installed by another Wilmington-based company, Francis Pollinger & Son. Additional sustainability efforts and energy reduction include installing LED lighting. These measures will reduce energy consumption by 80 percent. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control approved a grant of $90,000 from the Delaware Green Energy Fund for the solar power system.
Meanwhile, in Maryland, IBT is expanding into new space in the Gaithersburg Accelerator in Montgomery County that is 60 percent larger than its former space in Germantown. Privately held IBT is an emerging research-based biotech company that discovers and develops anti-infective vaccines and drugs. Beginning in October, IBT will occupy 10,500 sq. ft. (975 sq. m.) of laboratory and office space on the first floor of the Accelerator at 21 Firstfield Road, which is in the midst of a US$6-million lab-renovation project. Rockville, Md.-based Scheer Partners, a commercial real estate company that specializes in life science companies' space requirements, worked with IBT to find a location where it could benefit from proximity to other companies in the area that specialize in the infectious disease market.
IBT has 24 employees and plans to hire more — both managers and technicians, says Rob Galioto, IBT's director of business development. "We have pretty much outgrown our current space," he says. "It will be a tremendous advantage to have a facility that is specifically built to our needs, in terms of the infrastructure."