ANNAPOLIS, MD (STL.News) Novavax, a clinical stage vaccine company that is currently developing a COVID-19 vaccine, has announced plans to expand into a new R&D, manufacturing, and office facility, and has purchased additional land in Montgomery County. The company, which has its headquarters in Gaithersburg, is planning to take 122,000-square-feet of space at 700 Quince Orchard Road, also in Gaithersburg, to accommodate its growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. As part of the expansion, Novavax, which currently has more than 450 employees worldwide, has committed to add at least 400 new local jobs by December 2024. The company expects to add the majority of the new positions by March 2021.
Novavax is among a number of U.S. life sciences companies developing a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Earlier this year, the company was awarded up to $1.6 billion through Operation Warp Speed to complete late-stage clinical development, establish large-scale manufacturing, and deliver 100 million vaccine doses as early as late 2020, as well as up to $388 million from the international Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and $60 million through a U.S. Department of Defense contract to support vaccine production.
“Novavax has been on the forefront in the fight against COVID-19, and we are proud to support this expansion and the new jobs that it will bring,” said Governor Larry Hogan, who toured Novavax’ headquarters last month. “The work that Novavax is doing, right here in Maryland, will impact millions around the world as we continue on the road to recovery from this global pandemic.”
To assist with project costs related to the expansion, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a $2 million conditional loan contingent on job creation and capital investment. In addition, the state has approved a $200,000 Partnership for Workforce Quality training grant, and the company is eligible for several tax credits, including the Job Creation Tax Credit and More Jobs for Marylanders. Montgomery County has approved a $500,000 grant, contingent on job creation and capital investment, and the City of Gaithersburg is anticipated to approve a grant of up to $50,000 from its Economic Development Opportunity Fund. Due to this project’s association with the public health crisis and Operation Warp Speed, the City of Gaithersburg also expedited the planning approval process to accommodate Novavax’ timeline.
“Novavax is proud to be part of Maryland’s bioinnovation ecosystem that, in collaboration with the state’s superb academic research institutions, is making important contributions in the fight against COVID-19,” said Stanley C. Erck, president and chief executive officer of Novavax. “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,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “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,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “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.”
“We couldn’t be more happy and proud of both the important work Novavax is doing and their decision to make this long-term investment in our community,” said Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman. “This move further solidifies our city as the very heart of Maryland’s biotech corridor, and it gives everyone in our community a chance to cheer for the Novavax team as they work to eradicate this pandemic.”