A major biotechnology company that is working on a vaccine for the coronavirus is planning a major expansion in Montgomery County that is expected to produce at least 400 new jobs by December 2024.
The expansion of Gaithersburg-based Novavax will be made possible by the acquisition of more than 120,000 square feet of space at 700 Quince Orchard Drive-which is located off I-270-for new research and development, office, and manufacturing facility.
The company has more than 450 employees worldwide and in July was awarded $1.6 billion from the federal government to finish late-state clinical development and to engage in large-scale manufacturing.
A conditional $2 million loan has been approved by the Maryland Department of Commerce for Novavax’s expansion. The loan is contingent upon the company creating jobs and reinvesting in the community. The state has approved a $200,000 workforce training grant. The county has approved a $500,000 grant for the expansion, which is contingent upon the company creating jobs and investing in the community. The city of Gaithersburg is also expected to approve a grant.
News of the expansion, which came on Monday, was celebrated by both Novavax representatives and state and county officials.
“Novavax is proud to be part of Maryland’s big-innovation ecosystem that, in collaboration with the state’s superb academic research institutions, is making important contributions in the fight against COVID-19,” Novavax president and CEO Stanley Erck, said in a statement. “Our swift response in developing one of the world’s most promising vaccines for this pandemic reflects the value of our close regional relationships, and we appreciate the support from the state, county, and city as we work to expand rapidly to fulfill our mission, which is more important today than ever.”
“It is exciting to see the growth of one of Maryland’s home-grown life sciences companies, and we look forward to more great things to come from Novavax,” Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz said in a statement. “Novavax has been addressing some of the world’s most devastating diseases, and we are very encouraged with the results so far from their COVID vaccine candidate.”
“Montgomery County has been home to Novavax since 1993 and we are honored that this outstanding company will continue to grow in our community. Novavax’s decision to expand its operations in Montgomery County shows how important we are as a life science hub and why companies are looking to expand their operations here,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “With assets like NIH and FDA along with our proximity to Washington, D.C., we have a lot to offer and companies like Novavax see the value of locating their businesses here in Montgomery County.”
Other notable companies that are working on a vaccine for COVID-19 include Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
There are 146,995 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Monday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health, and 4,007 people in Maryland have died from the virus. The state’s positivity rate is at 3.94%, which is higher than usual but is still better than that of most states in the country. Maryland has conducted nearly 3.5 million COVID-19 tests.