With $66.7M in Fresh Funding, Virginia Plans for Major Life Science, Biotech, and Biopharma Expansion

By Sarah Ellinwood
February 15, 2023

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced the approval of over $66 million in state grants for four projects in the Biotechnology, Life Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster that will help the BioHealth Capital Region continue to flourish as a top national biohub.

These initiatives are aimed at creating job opportunities, raising wages, and promoting economic growth throughout the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin hopes that by accelerating the growth of the life sciences industry, Virginia will become a leading state in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, and improve economic opportunities in what are sometimes considered the BioHealth Capital Region’s “pocket hubs”.

  • The University of Virginia’s Institute for Biotechnology will receive $36 million to create a new state-of-the-art facility to attract 150 research scientists and accelerate genomics/gene therapies and drug delivery technologies. The facility will serve as a research and translational therapies hub that includes a dedicated 30,000-square-foot area for biomanufacturing.
  • The city of Roanoke will receive $15.7 million to create an advanced laboratory-incubator space that will attract new biotech companies in the southwestern Virginia region, adding to the ecosystem of existing companies including Novozymes and BEAM Diagnostics. The project includes partnerships with the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, Virginia Western Community College, and Carilion Clinic.
  • The Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority will receive $15 million to support the construction of a life sciences lab building in the Virginia Biotech Park and to advance the end-to-end manufacturing capabilities of the pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster in Greater Richmond. Project partners include the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering’s Medicine’s for All Institute and the Alliance for Better Medicine.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick stated that life science industries represent a crucial sector in Virginia, currently employing over 150,000 Virginians, and is a strategic target for growth in the Governor’s “Compete to Win” Agenda for Economic Development. Virginia boasts over 300 life sciences companies and nearly five million square feet of laboratory space, encompassing the entire value chain from academic research to commercialization and distribution.

According to the recent release, the funding will be managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in collaboration with the State Council of Higher Education and a task force composed of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority, Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority, Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity Board, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and staff directors of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations.

BioBuzz will continue to provide coverage on this progress. Stay tuned!