Three New Biotech Facilities Open In Frederick
Frederick, Maryland’s Life Sciences and Biotech Hub Ends 2018 with Strong and Broad Growth
December 19, 2018
The life sciences and biotech industry in Frederick is finishing the year stronger than ever. In one month, three noteworthy ribbon cutting ceremonies marked the opening of new and expanded high-tech facilities.
Global life science powerhouse Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.; Indivumed Inc., a Germany-based organization focused on personalized cancer therapies; and the infectious disease research company Southern Research are the most recent additions to the impressive growth, depth and breadth of the Frederick biotech ecosystem.
These facilities represent the most recent round of life science and biotech infrastructure investments in Frederick. Not long before, RoosterBio, Inc. moved into their new, larger Frederick facility. These and previous 2018 openings build on an already impressive biotech cluster that ranks second in the state of Maryland.
The breadth of life science and biotech companies operating in Frederick includes established and startup organizations that develop technology used for various applications ranging from research products and therapeutics to diagnostics and medical devices. Numerous Frederick-based companies also provide services, expertise, and infrastructure across dozens of relevant areas including FDA compliance, preclinical studies, contract research and manufacturing.
Notable Frederick County life science and biotech organizations include AstraZeneca/MedImmune, Lonza, the National Cancer Institute, the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and the U.S. Biological Defense Program, along with approximately 100 other growing biotech organizations across a diverse array of areas. With multiple higher education facilities, Frederick Community College’s Bioprocessing Technology Program and incubator facilities like the Frederick Innovative Technology Center (FITCI), Frederick County’s biotech sector has the infrastructure in place to nurture the strong growth it has enjoyed since 2001.
In late October, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., announced a 290,000 square foot site expansion that will house its new business center and biorepository while also serving as the North American hub for the company’s life sciences business. The site expansion includes 100,000 square feet for the development of clinical and commercial cell and gene therapy treatments and 190,000 square feet dedicated for life sciences equipment and consumables distribution. With more than 500 companies currently developing cell therapies, many of which focus on oncology, the industry is forecast to grow at 15 percent a year as more treatments get approved for use. The hope is that these emerging cell therapies being developed will improve cancer patient outcomes.
Thermo Fisher’s total expansion investment was approximately $10 million and will house about 80 of the 450 employees working at the Frederick campus. The project expanded its East Coast Distribution Center, added cryogenic storage capabilities and increased the size of the National Cancer Institute Repository for Clinical Trials. The expansion also enables Thermo Fisher to house its growing cybersecurity department on campus. Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Thermo Fisher Scientific employs some 70,000 staff worldwide and has had operations in Frederick for about 30 years.
“The Frederick campus will serve as Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical and commercial hub for cell and gene therapy treatments to meet the growing demand from the global healthcare industry. Given the highly skilled workforce in Frederick County, it made sense to expand our current facility, and we’re excited to continue to bring advanced manufacturing and high-tech careers to Maryland,” stated Dave Meadows, vice president and general manager of Thermo Biosciences at Thermo Fisher.
Indivumed Inc., an integrated, physician-led oncology research company, also officially announced the opening of its U.S. headquarters in Frederick in early November. The company, which is a subsidiary of Germany-based Indivumed Group, develops individualized cancer therapy through the generation, characterization, and analysis of biologic samples from human cancer patients. Specifically, the company is highly regarded for its biospecimen banks, cancer database and tumor profiling technologies. Indivumed employs approximately 200 staff globally with 12 of those employees tasked with heading up its Frederick U.S. headquarters.
“Frederick’s location is very good in terms of communications and proximity to important oncology research sites. It’s business-friendly environment and an established community of biotech and life sciences companies offer opportunities for collaboration and joint knowledge creation, so we are very pleased with the decision we made”, stated Indivumed’s CEO Fernando Andreu.
“Our site in Frederick will host our central U.S. biobank and all associated testing facilities. We plan to expand in size, but also in the complexity and sophistication of the tests being performed in our labs,” he added.
Indivumed anticipates more than doubling the number of employees working at the site in the near future with plans for sustained growth in the coming years.
Southern Research joined the ribbon-cutting parade in early November, announcing the opening of its newly renovated Frederick Infectious Disease Research Center. Founded in 1941, Southern Research is a non-profit organization that supports the pharmaceutical, biotech, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries on behalf of major government entities and private sector organizations. The company invested $13 million to upgrade the 48,000 square foot facility that originally opened in 1991. The Frederick Infectious Disease Center houses approximately 50 employees that perform antiviral research and drug and vaccine discovery for commercial and government organizations. Many landmark discoveries in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus were developed on the Frederick campus.
“Southern Research opened its Frederick facility in 1991 and established the site as an infectious disease research center shortly thereafter. The proximity of Frederick to the NIH main campus in Bethesda, the many infectious disease research activities at Fort Detrick and within the local biotech community, as well as the strong pool of science professionals in this area have all contributed to the growth and success of our research programs at the facility,” said Roger Ptak, senior director for infectious disease research and site head for the Frederick facility.
2018 was a strong year for the Frederick biotech ecosystem, as the area continued to attract outstanding life science and biotech organizations that are diverse yet share a common trait: A sharp focus on innovation and growth. Thermo Fisher, Indivumed and Southern Research are just the latest additions to the strong and vibrant biotech and life sciences hub that continues to develop and evolve in Frederick County, Maryland.