A Uniquely Positioned GMP BioManufacturing Facility Hits the Market in Maryland

Biotech is booming across the country, especially in the top biotech clusters like Boston, San Francisco, New York and in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR). The global biotechnology market is expected to reach $775.2 billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9 percent. 

With such massive growth in an industry that is highly dependent on facilities and talent, it’s no wonder that real estate has become an even more critical variable in a company’s strategy.  Companies are now having to make strategic real estate decisions earlier in their life cycle than ever before.

Deciding on where to start and grow your company may determine how fast and effective you can be at scaling, so founders and executives are seeking out locations that are rich in the resources they need; talent, facilities, capital and collaborators.  

The BioHealth Capital Region has become an attractive choice for many, and the available real estate market is an important reason.  In the BHCR you not only have access to top talent, opportunities to collaboration with top universities and federal labs like NIH, and proximity to the FDA and CMS but also one of the best overall life science real estate markets in the nation.  

As highlighted at the 2019 BioHealth Capital Region Forum in the ‘State of the Ecosystem’ presentation by BioHealth Innovation CEO, Rich Bendis, the rates for life science space in the region are among the most competitive among the top-tier biohealth clusters.

The recent announcement from the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) has caught the attention of many in the space. IBBR announced that they will be leasing a 9,100 sq ft cGMP biomanufacturing facility located on-site at the Universities at Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Maryland through an RFP process. The RFP has already been released and can be accessed in full through the link below.

GMP Facilities and Services Available for Lease:

  • Approximately 9,100 square feet of GMP suite, laboratory space, support areas, and offices.
  • Designed and configured for bacterial or yeast fermentation and mammalian cell culture to manufacture products such as therapeutic proteins, CAR-T cell therapies, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, cytokines, DNA plasmid vaccines, or nanotechnology based products.
  • Flexible configuration that can be modified as per specific needs of the applicant.
  • Infrastructure support such as utilities, maintenance contracts, and facilities management.
  • Potential involvement with research and training and education programs currently conducted at the institute. Please visit www.ibbr.umd.edu for more information on research areas of focus.

Deadline for RFP: September 30th, 2019.

Learn more or Respond to RFP -> Here

What makes this opportunity so coveted is that the biomanufacturing facility is already configured in compliance with FDA requirements for phase I/II clinical trials.  Being able to avoid the lengthy and costly process of cGMP compliance for your facility is a huge advantage for companies; especially in the more rapidly moving cell and gene therapy field.

The facility is also equipped to perform process development research, pre-clinical manufacturing for material necessary to conduct IND-enabling toxicology studies, Point of Concept (POC) studies, and process demonstration in advance of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturing.

The facility had previously been utilized for GMP workforce training and educational programs ties to the University of Maryland. IBBR has recognized the demand for this type of space in the region and expects that leasing the space now under the current market conditions will attract a tenant that is ready to use the space for its intended purpose – Pilot scale GMP manufacturing and training and education.

“Demand for this type of space was highlighted this year,” according to Viqar Aslam, Director of Business Development & Strategy for IBBR. “Paragon Bioservices bought a portion of Novavax’s manufacturing business in Montgomery County, and companies from outside of Maryland, from UK based Autolus Therapeutics to California’s  Kite Pharma recently located their headquarters in the BioHealth Capital Region. The success in cell-based therapies (like CAR-T) in clinical trials is the driving force.”

IBBR is a joint research enterprise between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology whose mission is rooted in translational research.  IBBR already works with many leading biopharma companies and has several collaborations around cell and gene therapy.

The winning bid for this facility also won’t be based on price alone shared Aslam. “As a translational research institute, it’s important to work with Industry partners. Potential involvement with IBBR research and training and education programs currently conducted at the institute is an important factor.  An agreement would be determined based on any proposed capital improvements to the facility, the company’s projected economic impact, and any research collaboration with IBBR and the university, among other factors.”

When asked about what makes this facility unique and attractive to the market, Aslam had a clear answer. “Location. The close proximity to a vibrant cluster that includes the FDA and NIH, alonng with many Universities and biotech companies is very attractive. IBBR is strategically located just northwest of Washington, DC, in the heart of Maryland’s biotechnology corridor, within easy reach of major academic, industry, and federal research laboratories, including University of Maryland campuses, NIST, NIH/NCI, FDA, and USDA.

Map depicting location of GMP biomanufacturing facility in Maryland’s biotechnology corridor
IBBR Strategically Located at the Center of the BioHealth Capital Region

As previously mentioned, access to talent is another important variable when considering where to grow your company.  “The extremely active lab real estate market is a bell-weather for the upcoming hyper-competitive talent market,” states Matt Brady, Life Science Facilities Advisor at Scheer Partners in an article titled, “Facilities as a Recruiting Tool for Talent in the Next Generation Lab Market”. “Based on the recent real estate transactions and related hiring forecasts, we estimate the range of new positions in the Maryland life sciences market to be between 1,150 to 2,300 new hires in 2019.”

The location and close ties to the University of Maryland as a talent pool for your company position this real estate opportunity as a no-brainer for forward-looking companies seeking to remain competitive and attract top biotech talent.

The RFP is only open until September 30, 2019 so For additional information and to schedule a tour of the GMP facility, please contact Viqar Aslam, Director of Business Development and Strategy at 240-314-6373 or vaslam@umd.edu

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Chris Frew
Over the past 8 years, Chris has grown BioBuzz into a respected brand that is recognized for its community building, networking events and news stories about the local biotech industry. In addition, he runs a Recruiting and Marketing Agency that helps companies attract top talent through a blended model that combines employer branding and marketing services together with a high powered recruiting solution.

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