Life sciences companies thrive in Maryland.
aryland held firm as the second leading state behind
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley hopes to build on that foundation with his proposed US$100-million InvestMaryland program, which, if approved by the state legislature, would provide tax credits to insurance companies so they could invest in technology companies, including those in the life sciences. The state is also under way with its Bio 2020 plan to invest $1.3 billion in biotech across the decade.
The state's research prowess, top-level academic institutions and well-educated work force are among the reasons
"The state has a relatively good-sized existing business going on and some world-class organizations," says Andy Skibo, senior vice president of engineering and acting vice president of operations for Gaithersburg-based MedImmune, a home-grown vaccine specialist. "They all contribute to a good constellation of activities that make it a strong area for research and product development, and manufacturing as well. The big thing is access to universities. They provide us with scientists. They want to be surrounded by their peers, and there is a big core of technical people here to be a peer group. There's also a strong venture capital base in this area."
MedImmune, founded in 1988 and now part of AstraZeneca, is adding space at multiple locations in
"It will be one of the largest biotech bulk manufacturing plants in the
The building, situated adjacent to an existing MedImmune manufacturing site, was mechanically completed in 2010 and was finishing its commission startup earlier this year as it gets ready for FDA inspection. The facility will employ 250 initially, with some moving over from the building next door. MedImmune's total investment is just under $600 million, including licensing costs.
"It will take five years or more before we are at full production," Skibo says. "It was built for our future pipeline. We could easily double our headcount over that period of time."
MedImmune's other major expansion is in the rear of its headquarters complex in
"MedImmune and our parent AstraZeneca have placed emphasis on being green and environmentally conscious," Skibo says. "Area 6 is designed to achieve LEED Silver status and we are confident we will achieve at least that. It may well be the first building of that size and scope to get that kind of an award. I am sure it's the first in
Skibo says in 2008 MedImmune shifted away from building all of its facilities and began leasing some of its office space.
"There are a lot of good office buildings available for lease in this area. Shifting office space into adjacent buildings that we could lease allows us to shift our build dollars to lab facilities, which you can really go out and lease."
MedImmune is also adding space in five other buildings near its
Skibo says one recent example of local and state cooperation occurred when MedImmune acquired office space across State Highway 124 from its complex in
Qiagen, a Netherlands-based supplier of sample and assay technologies in the life sciences sector, is expanding its North American headquarters and manufacturing center in
Qiagen employs more than 3,500 globally, including nearly 700 across its three locations in
"We are expecting to continue to grow with the launch of new products," says Doug Liu, Qiagen's vice president, global operations. "We will have some new growth from a manufacturing perspective, and we are continuing to do R&D activities. As our business grows, this will be our permanent headquarters. We certainly have the space to grow here, and ultimately we would like to bring more of our activities into this space if possible."
Liu says Qiagen looked at other locations for the project, but several "overwhelming" factors favored the
"The infrastructure here really kind of made it an obvious choice," Liu says. "We have been happy being here in